Statement by Turkey at the UNSC Open Debate on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question”

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 22.01.2019
Mr. President,
The situation across the Middle East continues to be a source of grave concern.
Terrorism, violence and humanitarian crises have escalated and engulfed millions of innocent people in the region.
In the face of this grim reality, we must maintain our focus on the urgent need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Failing to do so will continue to further destabilize the region and lead to more radicalization and extremism.
Mr. President,
Despite the continuous calls by the international community, the Israeli violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, have been increasing at an alarming rate.
The continuation of settlement activities, which intend to create new realities on the ground, are particularly worrying. This is unacceptable.
The Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016) is clear on the destructive effects of illegal settlement activities. Its provisions must be implemented.
Israel should immediately cease all settlement activities, as well as house demolitions, land confiscation and other policies denying the Palestinians’ right to development.
There is also an attempt to deny the historical and legal rights of Palestine people.
According to UN resolutions, Palestinians have the right to return to their homeland. This cannot be withheld.
Refugee status of the people of Palestine is a legitimate right. It cannot be used as a bargaining chip.
The continuation of these practices will only deepen the sense of injustice and breed desperation. This is in nobody’s interest.
The situation in the Gaza Strip is also deeply worrying. Gazans, who are under blockade, continue to live in tremendous despair and insecurity.
This tragedy is compounded by the worst financial crisis in the history of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Until a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict is achieved, the work of UNRWA remains vital. It is our collective and moral duty to support the Agency.
As the chair of the UNRWA Advisory Commission and the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA, Turkey will continue to contribute to Agency’s work and calls upon all actors to do the same.
Mr. President,
The latest developments remind us once again the urgency of revitalizing the peace process.
A two state solution, with the establishment of an independent State of Palestine within 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, remains the only way for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.
Any peace plan or initiative should be based along those established parameters.
This could be achieved and we should have reasons to be optimistic.
Last week, the State of Palestine assumed the Chairmanship of the G77 Group. This is an historic development.
We congratulate the State of Palestine and wish them success.
Palestinians have first-hand experience of many of the major global problems. Their Chairmanship is an opportunity for the G77 and the General Assembly.
We hope that the State of Palestine will soon be a member of the UN and Palestinians will take their rightful place among us in order to contribute to the UN agenda across all pillars.
Mr. President,
Let me also highlight couple of points on Syria.
We continue to support the advancement of the political process, through our efforts to finalize the establishment of the Constitutional Committee.
UN involvement and balanced composition are crucial for a legitimate and credible Constitutional Committee.
In recent months we have intensified our consultations with the other Astana guarantors and UN Special Envoy for Syria to that end.
Turkey’s resolve to fight against terrorism in Syria is firm.
We have proven this through two major counter-terrorism operations against DEASH and PYD/YPG.
We will not tolerate the finding of a safe haven by any terrorists organization right on the other side of our borders. We will not consent to the pursuit of any agenda that work against Syria’s unity and the will of the Syrian people.
As a Global Coalition member, Turkey is committed to ensuring the permanent defeat of DEASH.
Turkey and the US have agreed to coordinate the withdrawal process to avoid creation of a power vacuum in the East of the Euphrates.
Turkey stands ready to continue doing its part for a stable, peaceful and democratic Syria, preserving its political unity and territorial integrity.
Mr. President,
In each and every open debate on the Middle East, we are obliged to focus on a dim picture. But these problems are not inherent to the history or culture of the region.
We can overcome them as long as we work altogether in the right direction. We can start by collectively upholding international law.
This requires unity, courage and resilience, particularly on the part of the Security Council.
Thank you.