United Nations International Conference in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Statement by Turkey
Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarıkçı, Permanent Representative to the UN Office at Geneva
(29 June 2016)
I would like to express our deep appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for organizing this timely Conference in Geneva. Along with the ongoing session of the Human Rights Council, we believe that this will be another occasion for exchanging views on the situation in Palestine, as well as on various initiatives aiming for a lasting peace in the region.
There is no justification for the fact that while the Israelis founded their state in 1948, Palestinians still remain deprived of this fundamental right for several decades. Until this injustice is completely reversed, it will not be possible to find a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue.
Turkey's unwavering support to the honorable cause of the Palestinian people against occupation and destruction will continue with all means available. It is our foremost wish to witness the establishment of an independent, sovereign and contiguous State of Palestine within the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of international law, relevant UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel.
In this vein, as an active and long-standing member, we strongly support the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in defense of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Palestine, particularly the right to have an independent and sovereign state recognized by the international community.
Turkey considers that the hoisting of the Palestinian flag at the UN last year was a long-awaited accomplishment of a fully deserved right. Also, the number of countries recognizing the State of Palestine has reached 137. Nevertheless, its existence is increasingly challenged on the ground by the occupation, which will soon mark its 50th year.
Turkey supports the French initiative for the reactivation of the peace process, as well as other international efforts. However, a wide range of practices continue to hamper the dynamics of peace. Illegal practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories should cease and a sincere and result-oriented engagement with the peace process should follow.
In particular, Turkey remains deeply concerned by the ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements, as well as by demolitions and land confiscations, and the prevailing culture of impunity fostered by the occupation itself. Likewise, regarding the growing numbers of settlers allowed to enter Al-Haram Al-Sharif, Turkey is adamant that the preservation of the status and sanctity of the compound is essential.
Moreover, the dismal effects of the 10 year-long blockade in Gaza have further deepened since 2013. Gaza carries the risk to become completely inhabitable in a few years' time. A genuine reconstruction process in Gaza can only be launched after the end of this injustice. Turkey once again calls for the lifting of the blockade.
In Palestine, the need for development assistance and investment in key areas is more urgent than ever. The priority should be to empower the people of Palestine and to improve their living conditions. With this understanding, Turkey’s recent pledge of 200 Million USD is being progressively channelled into specific projects, such as the new industrial zone in Jenin and the Turkish-Palestinian Hospital in Gaza.
The people of Palestine urgently need a solid perspective for a brighter future. The realization of the two-state peace vision is the only viable way forward. To this end, Turkey will resolutely deploy all efforts for a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement.
I thank you.
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