Head of the Turkish-Palestinian Parliamentary Friendship Group Hasan Turan on Wednesday slammed Israel on the 71st anniversary of Nakba Day, which commemorates the expulsion in 1948 of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in historical Palestine to make way for the new state of Israel.
"Israel that builds new illegal settlements every day and confiscates occupied territories must pay for the blood it spills in Palestine," said Turan in a written statement.
The Israel-Palestine conflict began in 1917 when the British government, in the infamous “Balfour Declaration”, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".
The Nakba saw 15,000 Palestinians killed, some 800,000 displaced, and 531 Arab villages destroyed in attacks by invading Zionist forces.
The Palestinian diaspora has since become one of the largest in the world.
Palestinian refugees are now scattered across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and other countries, while many have since settled in refugee camps in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.
According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), there are currently more than five million registered Palestinian refugees.
For many Palestinians, the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine isn't just a key political demand, but a fundamental human right.
* Writing by Vakkas DogantekinAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.