Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly "Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory"

Baki İlkin 15.12.2006
Madame President,

My delegation has associated itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Finland on behalf of the European Union. As our views and concerns are generally reflected in that statement, I will confine myself to making the following remarks.

Madame President,

Whether we call it the "Wall", or the "Security Fence", or the "Barrier", the structure which is being built in the West Bank has become a visible hindrance to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region. Cutting deep into certain areas of the Palestinian territory, the said-structure has further complicated the already vexing issues pertaining to the Palestinian question. The International Court of Justice, in its Advisory Opinion of July 2004, has deemed the Wall and the policies associated with it as "contrary to international law". Indeed, they also run counter to the vision of two States, living side by side, in secure and recognized borders.

Turkey is of the opinion that in order to reach a viable settlement, the basic parameters of a just and comprehensive solution must not be undermined by unilateral actions. Creating a de-facto situation on the ground which would prejudge the borders of a future Palestinian State and the issue of settlements in the West Bank does not bode well with the efforts to revitalize the peace process. It is evident that these policies have not only led to a physical separation, but also to a deep mental fissure between the two peoples.

On the other hand, Madame President, Turkey recognizes the right of every State to protect its citizens. Definitely, this also applies to Israel. However, the measures adopted to curb violence should not in any way undermine the legitimate rights and vital interests of the Palestinians.

Madame President,

Turkey wishes to see new dynamics vis-à-vis the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the mutual implementation of confidence building measures by the two parties. We believe that the long-needed ceasefire agreement between President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert in the Gaza Strip has been a step in the right direction to this end. We welcome the reconciliatory speech delivered by Prime Minister Olmert at the Knesset late last month, reflecting the desire of Israel for dialogue and compromise. Having the ceasefire extended to the West Bank would certainly further this undertaking.

It is also our sincere wish that both sides exert their best efforts to arrest the violence and insecurity which have marred the region for too long. The Palestinians as well as the Israelis certainly deserve better. And the international community must assist both sides to generate a fresh momentum towards the objective of achieving a lasting peace, security, and stability for the welfare of all peoples in the region.

On this occasion, we also appeal to the leaders of Palestine to overcome their internal differences and join hands in the pursuit of peace.

I thank you, Madame President.