Dubai: Don’t sweep Palestinian issue under the rug, Turkish president tells world leaders

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was speaking at the World Government Summit on Tuesday


Nasreen Abdulla

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Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photos: Supplied
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photos: Supplied

Published: Tue 13 Feb 2024, 4:33 PM

Last updated: Tue 13 Feb 2024, 11:12 PM

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said that a permanent solution to the Palestinian crisis is vital for lasting peace in the region.

“Every incident that was not settled amicably or that we sweep under the rug, remains a problem,” he said. “If Israel wants permanent peace in the region, it must stop pursuing expansionist dreams and accept the existence of an independent Palestinian state. Every step taken will remain incomplete until an independent, sovereign and geographically integrated Palestinian state is established within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Erdogan was speaking on the second day of the World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024, which kicked off in Dubai on Monday. Turkey was the guest of honour of the day.

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He also called on countries to continue contributing to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), calling the recent attack on its reputation regrettable "I call upon countries with a conscience to continue to protect the agency (UNRWA), which is the lifeline for 6 million refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestinian territories,” he said. “I say this as the president of a country that has thrown open its doors to numerous refugees including Jews that were fleeing persecution.”

Extending a helping hand

Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s commitment to helping the Palestinian cause and shared how the country had helped so far. “We have invested everything to stop this crisis,” he said.

“More than 34,000 tons of aid has been sent so far to Gaza. We have hosted 380 patients as well 344 family members in our country, providing medical aid for them. We will never abandon our Palestinian brothers and sisters.”

He also decried the injustice against the Palestinian people. “The source of the crisis is the sustaining settlements that have continued in Palestine by Israel despite resolutions against it,” he said. “Israel deems itself above the law. Illegal settlements and massacres have continued. What kind of injustice the Palestinian people have been living with.”

Futuristic plans

On a different note, Erdogan revealed how Turkey was aiming to attain zero carbon emissions by the year 2053. “We have started on a programme to achieve zero waste,” he said. “As part of assuming responsibility for the future, we have become candidates to host COP31. I sincerely hope you will support our candidacy.”

Erdogan said Turkey was preparing itself for an AI revolution. “We are benefiting from the digital transformation,” he said. “Techno parks are becoming more widespread in the country. Turkey has a digital gateway strategy that will be the roadmap of our country. It will yield the most positive results.”

In addition to this, Erdogan shared some of the struggles he faced during his four decades long political career. “I was incarcerated based on a poem I recited,” he recalled. “At the time a lot of people said that I would never be able to hold a public office again. However, I established my own party in 2001 and then went on to become the Prime Minister and President of the country.”


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