Statement by Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations at the 66.th Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Item: "The Situation in the Middle East"

Ertuğrul Apakan 30.11.2011
Mr. President,

The global agenda is currently full of important developments, among which the historic transition in the Middle East and North Africa comes to the fore with its potential global ramifications.

The people of the Middle East rightfully deserve a dignified life and the dividends of democracy and peace.

Mr. President,

The Arab-Israeli conflict must be resolved and the Palestinian people must be able to fully exercise their inalienable rights. The course of change and transformation in the region spurred by the aspirations of peoples of the Middle East and North Africa for freedom, democracy, human rights and higher standards of living has once again proved the fact that the just expectations of the Palestinian people cannot go unanswered any longer. It is our foremost objective to find a solution to the Palestinian question on the basis of relevant UN resolutions and the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative as well as to ensure the realization of an independent Palestinian State, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. Ensuring national Palestinian unity is another main priority.

Turkey rejects violence in any shape or form and by any party as unacceptable. We believe there is no genuine alternative to a negotiated settlement. There is no doubt that meaningful engagement that inspires confidence for both Palestine and Israel cannot begin while settlement activity continues. We call on Israel to fulfill its responsibilities stemming from international law concerning the lasting peace in the Middle East and to put an end to all its activities destroying the basis for peace.

Meanwhile the situation in the Gaza continues unabated which is an embarrassment for the international community. The unlawful blockade on Gaza keeping more than 1,5 million Palestinian men, women and children trapped, must end. The relevant UN Security Council Resolutions must be implemented without further delay. The international community must ensure that there is accountability both for the blockade and Israel’s attack on the international humanitarian aid flotilla last year that left 9 civilians dead and many wounded in high seas.

Turkey, welcomes and strongly supports the Palestinian application for United Nations membership submitted by President Mahmoud Abbas on 23 September 2011 and believes that it is high time for Palestine to take their rightful place in the international arena, among the community of nations.

With this understanding, we congratulate the people of Palestine on their membership to UNESCO, and hope that all concerned sides will duly take into account the will of the international community displayed towards this membership.

Mr. President,

The Israeli – Palestinian conflict lies at the core of all the problems in the Middle East and there is no acceptable alternative to a just and comprehensive settlement. The status quo is not viable. Let me reaffirm once more Turkey’s strong support for the realization of a just and lasting comprehensive peace in the region based on the two state solution.

Thank you.