Statement by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the 10th Emergency Session of the General Assembly

Baki İlkin 17.11.2006
Madame Chair,

Turkey aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Finland on behalf of the EU. So, my remarks will be brief.

Given the increased human suffering in the Palestinian territories and the bleak prospects for the peace process, we believe that now is the time for a collective reflection on where we have gone wrong.

In this regard, what transpires in the Gaza Strip is unacceptable. Killing of innocent civilians can by no means be justified. We were particularly shocked by the incident that occurred in Beit Hanoun on 8 November. The images of dead women and children who posed no military threat whatsoever were truly heartbreaking.

We of course recognize Israel's right and obligation to defend its own citizens and accordingly we condemn the Qassam rocket attacks into Israeli territory. But we equally condemn the disproportionate use of force against civilians which breeds nothing but more violence, hatred and insecurity.

Therefore, we join others in calling upon Israel to immediately cease its military operations in Gaza and bring to justice those responsible for the tragedy in Beit Hanoun, while reiterating our appeal to the Palestinian Authority to do whatever necessary to stop those rocket attacks against innocent Israeli civilians.

Madame Chair,

In light of the un-diminishing spiral of violence, it should be obvious to everyone by now that there can be no military solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The more we rely on military means, the more we aggravate the chances for a lasting peace. This, I believe, is the irrefutable premise on which we should build our efforts.

To this end, we should first provide hope and relief to the Palestinian people. We must create the necessary conditions that would allow them to look at the future and see a reliable prospect for security, prosperity and stability.

Of course, no less is deserved by the Israeli people. They should also be able to live in peace and security with their neighbours and reap the benefits of cooperation and stability.

And the only viable way to achieve these objectives passes through the resumption of meaningful negotiations between the two sides on the basis of the Ouartet's roadmap, which envisages a two-state solution.

We believe that President Abbas' efforts to bring about national unity on the Palestinian side along these lines will constitute an important step in the right direction, and thus we should spare no effort in supporting him in this important endeavour.

Madame Chair,

Achieving a just and sustainable resolution of the conflict requires courage and a bold vision on the part of both the Israelis and Palestinians as well as all countries capable of influencing the situation. Difficult though it can be, there is no other option. Therefore, we should all act responsibly and strive to put the peace process back on track without further delay.

We hope that today's meeting serves as an alarm bell on the urgency of the matter and mobilizes all the necessary elements towards this end. On its part, Turkey, in cooperation with all the parties concerned, will continue to exert its best efforts to bring peace and stability to the region.

Thank you.