Statement by Mr. Levent Eler, Charge d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations at the Open Debate at the UN Security Council on “the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”

Levent Eler 23.07.2013
Madame President,

Allow me to first to thank you for organizing this open debate.
The Middle East is going through a significant period of transition and change. At the heart of the challenges we face in the region still lies the Palestinian question. This issue continues to undermine the prospects for regional peace, cooperation and welfare.

Turkey has always supported a two-state solution based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel, also sitting side by side with us on an equal footing under this roof. Revival of the Middle East Peace Process and the resumption of comprehensive peace negotiations between the parties for a just and lasting solution have become increasingly crucial.

In this regard, we appreciate and support the recent efforts by US Secretary of State, John Kerry towards a breakthrough in revitalizing talks between the parties. Another chance for a viable two-state solution should not be missed. We encourage parties to commit to preparing a solid ground for talks, on the basis of 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps. Parties must build confidence, including settlement freeze, prisoner release and security arrangements for both sides. We also believe that, parties should refrain from any provocative steps, including sensitivities regarding Masjid Al-Aqsa.

I would like to reiterate once again that, Turkey, as always, is ready to contribute to all international efforts towards a just and lasting settlement.

Madame President,

Unfortunately, Israel’s illegal settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, remain as a major obstacle before meaningful negotiations. It is time to seriously commit to and respect the established parameters of the Peace Process. The worrying situation of the Palestinian prisoners under Israeli custody continues to be yet another source of great concern.
We follow closely the developments regarding the recent EU guidelines which ban funding and other provisions in relation to occupied territories.

It goes without saying that the blockade on Gaza is inhumane, illegal and unsustainable. We repeat our call to the Israeli Government to lift the blockade, in accordance with its bilateral or multilateral commitments.

Madame President,

In the meantime, Turkey will continue to fully support the Palestinian reconciliation, which, we believe, constitutes one of the basics for a lasting solution and peace in the Middle East. Taking this opportunity, we would like to congratulate Prime Minister Hamdallah for taking office last month. We strongly support the goal of establishing a unity government embracing the Palestinian people as a whole within the timeframe determined in Cairo on 14 May 2013.
The achievement of Palestinian reconciliation and unity has importance and priority in order for a fair, comprehensive and viable solution to save Palestine from the yoke of occupation.

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.

Madame President,

This is the third Ramadan that Syrian people are living under the inhumane and indiscriminate attacks by the Syrian regime. The situation in Syria has begun to turn into the biggest humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century. The crisis is increasingly threatening regional peace and security, as well as posing a grave burden on Syria’s neighbors.
There is an immediate need for a political solution and a meaningful transition. However, the prospect for a peaceful settlement seems distant, unless the attacks of the regime come to an end and foreign militia forces fighting on the side of the regime leave the country.

We once again call upon the international community, in particular the UN Security Council to assume its responsibility and act urgently, resolutely and collectively.
Turkey will continue to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people to live in dignity.

Madame President,

Let me conclude by reiterating that 2013 is vital for Peace in the Middle East and now it is time for sincere and concrete action. We need to seize any momentum which will help to revitalize the talks between the parties and take concerted action towards a two-state solution.

Thank you.