Statement by Mr. Hüseyin Müftüoğlu, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East

Hüseyin Müftüoğlu 23.01.2013
Thank you Mr. President.

As this is the first Open Debate of the Security Council on the Middle East after the historical General Assembly session on 29 November 2012, allow me to start by expressing once again our sincere congratulations to the Palestinian leadership, represented today by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, for the most awaited and well deserved international recognition of the Palestinian statehood. Turkey considers the overwhelming support of the international community an initial step taken towards achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

Yet it is unrealistic to expect that the peace could prevail when the fundamental pillars of the two-state vision are attacked time and again, by the settlement policies of Israel. Since the last Open Debate we have heard the intention of the Israeli Government to build on the so-called E-1 area, the invitations to tender for the construction of new buildings in Kiryat Arba and Efrat, approval to construct 1,500 new units in Ramat Shlomo and the initiation of the planning process to build in Givat Hamatos and Gilo. These policies and actions show a clear intention to render impossible a realistic, and viable two-State solution. We also call for the resumption of the transfer of tax and clearance revenues, which Israel owes to Palestine, in line with the Paris Protocol.

Not only Turkey, but a vast majority of the international community is seriously worried about these acts. The Secretary General has also repeatedly voiced his concerns regarding the ongoing illegal settlement activity. As such, statements of the Israeli leadership indicating that “no settlements in the West Bank will be removed” is regrettable. So is the statement arguing that no harm to the contiguity between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim will be allowed.

Mr. President,

The peace process is going through a crucial period. Amid the reports that the prospects of a two-state solution is diminishing everyday, the international community should give all its support, and motivate the parties for result-ended negotiations. We welcome the recent meetings between President Abbas and Khaled Mashaal as a very important step for the long over-due Palestinian reconciliation. There is no doubt that a Palestine “united” will draw further support to the Palestinian cause.

As the elections in Israel just completed, we sincerely hope that the results would facilitate a way to peace. Turkey will continue to support the Peace Process, as well as the rightful aspirations of the Palestinian people for an internationally recognized statehood in accordance with the UN resolutions, Madrid principles, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative. Turkey thus welcomed the Palestinian appeal for membership to the United Nations, submitted by President Mahmoud Abbas on 23 September 2011 and continues to support the right of Palestine to sit under this roof among its international peers.

Mr. President,
The cease-fire achieved with the able mediation of Egypt, following the latest military operation of Israel into Gaza, required steps to be taken regarding the lifting of the illegal blockade on Gaza. Yet another two months have passed, adding up to more than five years of collective punishment on the Palestinians living in Gaza. We call on the international community to continue to pursue their efforts to help end this illegal blockade once and for all.

Mr. President,
This Council has heard last week from Ms. Navi Pillay, and from Ms. Valerie Amos on humanitarian dimension of the Syrian crisis and the latest developments on the ground. Today we have listened to the briefing of Special Coordinator Mr. Serry. With more than 60.000 dead, 2 million displaced, 4 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, the crisis in Syria is the fastest growing humanitarian crisis in the world. The Syrian People are desperately waiting for action from the international community, especially from the Security Council.

The total number of asylum seekers hosted in 15 active camps in Turkey has surpassed 158.000. Five more camps are under construction to meet the increasing demand. We have said many times before, and I shall repeat once again. We will continue, with the help of the relevant UN bodies as well as other international actors, extending our helping hand to the Syrian people during this dire period. That said, we categorically refute allegations which unfairly were directed to my country earlier today by one of the previous speakers.

Mr. President,
It is a fact that the crises in the Middle East are not easy to confine. Their ramifications have the potential to threaten regional peace and stability and even beyond. Things become even more complex when different crises become intertwined. This is exactly what we see in the case of Palestinian refugees in Syria.


Mr. President,

The international community, by its overwhelming majority vote, gave a message on 29 November 2012. We hope this message is read correctly and followed ambitiously.

Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary General and Special Coordinator Mr. Serry, we call on the international community to give its decisive support to the resumption of comprehensive peace negotiations between the parties for a just and lasting solution based on the international recognition of the Palestine with 1967 borders, East Jerusalem at its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace.

Thank you Mr. President.