Turkey expresses support for Palestine’s efforts to move towards statehood

Turkey expresses support for Palestine’s efforts to move towards statehood
# 21 April 2011 23:18 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Ertugrul Apakan, Turkey’s ambassador to the UN, said here Thursday that his country has offered "unwavering support and determination" to help Palestine reach the goal of statehood, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"Through their state building efforts, the Palestinian Authority has proven to all the skeptics that they deserve to attain their decades-long target of internationally recognized statehood, even though they continue to suffer under occupation," Apakan said.

His statements came during a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

Apakan said that if Palestinians prove objectively ready to move from its current observer status at the UN into full statehood, the international community "must not turn a blind eye to their just and legitimate appeal."

"The time has come to show solidarity with the Palestinians and help them to live in peace and dignity," he told the council.

Palestine has been working towards declaring its statehood, utilizing a plan by Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to boost institutions, infrastructure, and economy. In September, Palestine is expected to seek a vote from the UN General Assembly as to whether or not it will be admitted to the UN as a member state.

Apakan acknowledged that political progress must accompany economic progress in Palestine."In other words, efforts of good faith should not be confined to only the so-called ’economic peace,’ but it should reinforce the political dimension of the peace process and materialize in Palestinian statehood," he said.

He said that the needs of those who live on in the Gaza Strip must be addressed urgently.

"The current humanitarian and human rights conditions of the civilian population in Gaza are unsustainable, unacceptable, and ultimately not in the interests of any of those concerned," he said. "The recent escalations in tensions among the parties clearly prove that the situation is tenuous at best."

The Gaza Strip has been blockaded by Israel since Hamas took control of the land in 2007. In the aftermath of an Israeli raid on a Turkish humanitarian aid flotilla bound for Gaza on May 31, 2010, Israel says it has eased restrictions on goods entering Gaza.Apakan said that Israel should lift the blockade altogether.

"Minimalist approaches aimed at public diplomacy will not work, " he said. "Israel must lift its illegal blockade of Gaza immediately."

Apakan said that Turkey resolves to achieve justice for those involved in the flotilla raid."We will pursue this matter and explore every available avenue in the international system until we are convinced that justice is done," he said. "No member of the international community is above international law. Accountability holds the key to stability and security."

A new humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza operated by a Turkish relief organization has been announced, against the wishes of Israel.Apakan warned that humanitarian flotillas breaking Israel’s blockade must not be seen as provocations to violence.

"It should also be borne in mind that the phenomenon of humanitarian convoys to Gaza cannot simply be explained away as unilateral provocations," he said. "If the current pattern of Israeli policies towards Gaza which target the entire population in a disproportionate manner can be reversed, then the root cause of such reactions will also have been eliminated."
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