Turkey voices strong support for Palestinians' seeking of recognition

12:19, June 25, 2011      

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Turkey has voiced strong support for Palestinian plans to seek recognition of an independent state in the UN General Assembly.

"Palestinians could depend on Turkey's support for setting up a new state. Wherever in the world, me, my foreign minister, we all, can declare mobilization for this purpose," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday in a joint press conference with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

The Palestinian president is in Turkey for a four-day working visit and has met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, seeking support for their plans on a unity government.

Turkey has stepped in to solve a row between Palestinian factions over the upcoming government, hosting both rival Fatah and Hamas leaders in Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu has held talks with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul on Tuesday, as part of efforts to solve the dispute between Palestinian groups over the nomination of the prime minister of the unity government.

A meeting scheduled on Tuesday in Cairo between Palestinian President Abbas and Hamas leader Meshaal was postponed due to Hamas' rejection of reappointing Western-backed Salam Fayyad to lead the upcoming government.

Turkish officials urged both Abbas and Meshaal to unite in order to use the leverage they gained by agreeing on a unity government, a diplomat told Xinhua, adding Turkey told both parties that "a united Palestine is very crucial to handle upcoming process."

"We are trying to overcome the differences of opinion of the parties," Foreign Minister Davutoglu told reporters on Friday. Palestinian leaders have been campaigning to get UN recognition of a state that spans the territories of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, which captured by Israel in 1967.

The United States and Israel objected the plan of UN recognition. The United States urged the Palestinians not to take unilateral steps which could jeopardize a final peace settlement.

Turkey, however, declared that it would vote in favor of an independent Palestinian state. "Turkey is determined to support Palestine to be a member of UN, as much as Palestinians' determination," Erdogan said.

He noted the establishment of a Palestinian state was the most crucial element of a settlement of the Middle East problem, saying "establishing an independent and viable state, whose capital will be East Jerusalem, is the basic condition to solve this problem."

He added regaining peace and stability in the Middle East was only possible with a fair and lasting settlement of the Israeli- Palestinian problem.

"Turkey will continue extending support and defend the Palestinian cause to make sure that our Palestinian brothers live a free and humane life they deserve," Erdogan said.

Meanwhile, the Turkish prime minister said the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza were unable to get even their most basic needs. "Israel must end this blockade immediately," he said, describing the Israeli blockade of Gaza as "inhuman and lawless."

Erdogan called on the international community to assume "an impartial stance in their view" to support the Palestinian reconciliation.

For his part, Abbas said in the press conference that "we are continuing on the path of reconciliation and there will be no turning back," adding "we will make all efforts possible until the unity of our nation is achieved and a transitional government is established."

Abbas called on countries to recognize an independent Palestinian state to support international legitimacy, justice, peace and stability in the region.

"We want to live as independent Palestine within 1967 borders side by side with other countries in the region," he said, adding the Palestinians welcomed efforts by France and European countries for peace talks.

Source: Xinhua
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