Türkİye, Politics, Middle East

Turkish foreign minister pushes for 'unconditional cease-fire' in Gaza

Hakan Fidan, addressing emergency OIC session in Jeddah, says no justification for subjecting over 2M to 'collective punishment'

Muhammed Enes Calli  | 18.10.2023 - Update : 19.10.2023
Turkish foreign minister pushes for 'unconditional cease-fire' in Gaza


Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Wednesday pushed for an "unconditional cease-fire" to stop loss of civilian life in Gaza, which is in dire states due to unabated Israeli bombardment and blockade.

"What unfolds in Gaza is a gross violation of any form of international law and any virtues that makes us human beings," Fidan said while addressing an emergency session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah.

Condemning the loss of civilian lives, Fidan said Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 were of an "unprecedented nature," but Israel "had already been deepening the occupation and increasing the volatility on the ground."

He said "provocations" against the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, "settler terrorism" in West Bank and Jerusalem, and "inhumane blockade of Gaza" continued, despite Türkiye's warnings and calls.

"Israel’s military response showed once again that by dehumanizing Palestinian people, it aims to normalize their sufferings."

There is no justification for subjecting over 2 million people to "collective punishment," he said. "Nothing can excuse depriving Gazans of electricity, fuel, food and water and nothing can justify shelling homes, mosques and hospitals in utter cruelty, as we witnessed last night."

At least 471 people were killed in the Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital on Tuesday, according to Palestinian officials in the besieged enclave. Israel, however, has denied responsibility for the air raid.

Fidan said the conflict must be prevented from spreading. "This should be a wake-up call for all, especially in the West. In the scenario of tension escalating in a geographical manner, what happens in the region will definitely not stay in the region."

Urgent humanitarian aid should enter Gaza, he said, adding that "Türkiye already sent more than 80 tonnes of humanitarian assistance to al Arish Airport [in Egypt] and will continue providing more."

There is a need for new methods and narratives to end the conflict, Fidan said.

"Today, all sides agree that the two-state solution is the only fair and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. However, that is not enough: We have to materialize it.

"Israel should understand that broader regional plans, without having peace, first and foremost, with Palestinians did not and will not bring the security it desires."

Muslim countries should act with "self-confidence" and challenge the "hegemonic narrative" that has been imposed on them, he said.

"It takes only wisdom, tact and leadership to avoid catastrophic risks; not dispatching huge warships to our region, which serve no purpose other than watching Israel bombing hospitals," he added.

Reminding Türkiye's proposal to put into action a new guarantee mechanism for a peace in the region, Fidan said: "Muslim countries from the region should ensure survival and well-being of Palestinian people and act as guarantors of a lasting peace.

"Such kind of a mechanism has the potential to create a zone of peace, security and stability, with Palestine at its center."

"The Muslim world should take the bold decisions and relentlessly implement them in a gradual way until a sovereign, independent and contiguous state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, comes to life."

Türkiye, under the leadership of President Erdogan, "strongly believes that it is in our hands to make a historic and lasting peace, out of this current crisis," he said.

Fidan urged the OIC member states to take all "feasible, effective diplomatic, legal, coercive" steps to stop the "occupying power's Israel's crimes against humanity."

Gaza is experiencing a humanitarian crisis with no electricity, while water, food, fuel, and medical supplies are running out.

The recent conflict began on Oct. 7 when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

At least 3,478 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza, while the figure stands at more than 1,400 people in Israel.

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