Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers met in the capital Ankara to discuss the Palestine-Israel conflict and promised efforts against it spreading to the region, while Türkiye reiterated the call for the guarantorship model for a peace deal and slammed the West for its opposition to a cease-fire
Türkiye doesn’t want the conflict in Gaza to spiral into a regional war, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Wednesday at a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian in Ankara.
“We continue working for first a cease-fire, then permanent peace,” Fidan told reporters as Israeli strikes in besieged Gaza continue relentlessly for the fourth week. “A solution is a must that will be accepted by Palestine and the region’s countries,” he added.
He reiterated that his country was prepared to “take responsibility and be guarantor” in the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.
Fidan first voiced a guarantorship model earlier this month to ease tensions.
Amirabdollahian said they appreciated Türkiye’s guarantorship proposal and thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his stance on the issue. “We assess every proposal that will prevent the conflict from spreading and will reinstate the rights of Palestinian people,” he said.
Fidan stated that Türkiye backed a two-state solution to the conflict but also emphasized every regional country to contribute to the process. “We need both sides to make some concessions to reach an agreement, and they should stand by their pledges,” he said.
The Turkish minister was critical of West’s stance on the conflict. He slammed “different standards” for Ukraine and Palestine, stressing that “if we want a fair world, we must always act with integrity and consistency.”
“But the European Union doesn’t want to hear the word ‘cease-fire’ due to its position next to the U.S., which Israel determines,” Fidan argued. The Turkish minister stressed that the West “lost its morally superior” stance and “exhausted all excuses for oppression (by Israel).”
Pointing to pro-Palestine protests worldwide, including Western countries, he said the international community must now focus on what it can do for permanent peace in Palestine. “We don’t want the humanitarian drama in Gaza to evolve into a war that will affect the regional countries. For this reason, we invite all actors in and outside the region to promote a permanent fair peace,” Fidan said.
“We want an immediate cease-fire, but without a succeeding permanent solution, problems will arise again. Israel and Western societies should accept this fact: They have to consent to a solution that will satisfy Palestinians. Otherwise, this cycle of violence will continue. A cease-fire and peace are more essential than ever,” he said.
Fidan expressed concern about the illegal siege that deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights. “They are being massacred right before the eyes of the world. Refugee camps, schools, places of worship and hospitals are unfortunately being targeted. This inhumane siege and attacks are blatant violations of international law,” Fidan said.
“Gazans, whose access to food and medicine are blocked, left without electricity and water, live under heavy bombardment. It is impossible to remain silent in the face of cruelty in Gaza. The rally in Istanbul is the most concrete example that we are standing with the oppressed in Gaza,” he said. Thousands of people convened in Istanbul last Saturday for solidarity with Palestinians in the rally organized by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also attended the rally and decried Israeli oppression.
For his part, Amirabdollahian said Israel, the U.S., and “supporters of war crimes will be responsible if the situation gets out of control as long as the war is not prevented.”
“The Zionist regime continues massacring without discrimination, using all prohibited weapons in violation of international law,” he said.
Abdollahian said consequences would be harsh if attacks in Gaza continued and those endorsing this war, “these crimes” would pay a heavy price. He said the U.S. directly “commanded” Israel’s attacks and, through CENTCOM, was trying to expand the war. The Iranian foreign minister also called regional countries to launch a comprehensive boycott against Israel. “They should not send fuel to Israel and cut off ties with the Zionist regime,” he said.
“Israel should turn back from the wrong path it is walking and end the violence. Israel should understand that you cannot maintain security by violence and you cannot get anywhere by shedding more blood and ignoring Palestinians,” Fidan said.
“Israel and some of its allies think that elimination of Palestinian resistance groups, armed elements they see as a threat, will bring a permanent solution, but this will never bring them permanent security,” he underlined.
The pair met to discuss the situation in Palestine, as well as current regional developments and bilateral relations.
Fidan also confirmed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is set to visit Türkiye “soon.” Amirabdollahian is expected to meet with President Erdoğan later Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Iranian diplomat was in Qatar to meet Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and the political bureau chief of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh. He discussed ways to stop Israel’s attacks in Gaza.
Middle Eastern nations have warned the violence could spiral out of control and emphasized the necessity for joint efforts to stop Israel’s massacres in Gaza. On Oct. 26, the Iranian foreign minister told an extraordinary meeting of the U.N. General Assembly that Tehran was ready to fulfill a role with Türkiye and Qatar in the release of hostages held by Hamas. Qatar has facilitated the release of Israeli hostages through mediation efforts.
Fidan stated that Abdollahian told him that there were strong indicators that other armed elements in the region would participate in the conflict unless the current circumstances changed.
“It is difficult for (the Palestinians and Israel) to reach an agreement under the current circumstances. Israel always brings its security to the table, but the security of Palestinians should be considered on the same level,” he said.
Fidan is engaged in intense diplomatic efforts with his counterparts from the region and around the world for a solution to the ongoing conflict. He visited Lebanon, Egypt and Qatar and attended high-level meetings to address the issue. During a news conference last week in Qatar with his Qatari counterpart, Fidan called on the international community to act, warning worse days were awaiting the world if the Palestine-Israel conflict continued. He said that an all-out land offensive by Israel targeting Gaza would only upgrade Israel’s current “savagery” to an all-out massacre.
Türkiye has been trying to facilitate diplomatic channels to push for a cease-fire amid incessant Israeli airstrikes, which killed thousands and destroyed hospitals, homes, schools, marketplaces, churches, mosques, refugee camps and more. Erdoğan has assured Türkiye is ready to undertake responsibility if a regional security mechanism is established for the conflict. He also revealed his government was “holding discussions to make sure that perpetrators behind war crimes in Gaza are held accountable before the law.”
Turkish authorities are currently exploring ways to bring crimes committed by Israel against Palestinian civilians before the International Criminal Court (ICC) through government agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
“We have engaged in diplomacy with relevant parties, including representatives of Western countries, since Oct. 7. We act with principles and fair on this issue,” he said. Fidan lamented that some countries blatantly supported killings in Gaza, adding it was unacceptable to encourage violence. On the other hand, he underlined that as regional actors, Türkiye and other countries should not leave the solution of the issue to others.
He said they were working for an immediate solution to the situation through a cease-fire and on the delivery of humanitarian aid. “We are working with members of the international community, from the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the African Union (AU) and Arab League (AL). We were hoping to work with the EU on this issue, but they don’t want to hear the word cease-fire due to their stance on the issue. They do not accept any pressure (on Israel) for humanitarian aid,” he said.
Pointing out to the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza on Wednesday for foreign nationals to leave, Fidan said they were in contact with relevant authorities for the departure of Turkish citizens in Gaza as well.
“We are in touch with Egypt and Israel on this issue,” he said.