Erdogan: Palestinians support renewed Turkey-Israel relations

The Turkish president reiterated his full support for the Palestinian maximalist demands of a state based on the 1967 borders, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Turkish president Recep Erdogan said Tuesday that the Palestinians endorsed his decision last week to renew full ties with Israel after four years of a downgraded relationship.

At a press conference after meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Ankara, Erdogan said that “Palestine” supports the reinstatement of normal diplomatic relations because Turkey will then be in a better position to help them.

“Our Palestinian brothers also express that these steps will contribute to the solution of the Palestinian issue and the improvement of the situation of the Palestinian people,” he said.

Erdogan talked about his country’s deep commitment to the Palestinians, saying, “The steps taken in our relations with Israel will in no way diminish our support for the Palestinian cause.”

He mentioned ways this was manifest, such as Turkey’s recognition of Palestinian statehood “from the moment it was proclaimed” and that Ankara “defends the vision of a two-state solution on every platform.”

In a session in Algeria in 1988, the Palestinian National Council declared Palestine a state in 1988, five years before the Oslo Accords.

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While 138 countries by now recognize this state, Israel and many of its strongest friends, including the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada, France and Germany, do not. As per the Accords, the issue of Palestinian statehood would be decided through direct negotiations between Israel and the PA.

Erdogan has always backed the Palestinians’ maximalist demands, and he reiterated them to the gathered journalists.

“I once again underline that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital on the basis of the 1967 borders and the UN parameters is essential for the peace and stability of our entire region,” Erdogan told the journalists.

The Turkish leader has long been known for his harsh criticism of Israel, which has even included accusations of committing “war crimes” and “genocide” against the Palestinians when Israel responded to terrorism. It was during one such clash, when dozens of rioters at the Gazan border were killed in May 2018, that Erdogan called home his ambassador to Israel and Jerusalem reciprocated.

Even as recently as two weeks ago, during the IDF’s Operation Breaking Dawn against Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists, Erdogan came out against Israel, saying that “there is no excuse for murdering children.”

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According to Hamas, 17 children were killed by Israeli planes during the weekend skirmish. The IDF, however, has stated that at least 12 of them died due to PIJ rockets landing short in the Gaza Strip.

For his part, Abbas, who received full state honors upon his arrival, was careful to praise his host while avoiding the subject of the Turkey-Israel rapprochement.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for standing by the Palestinian people and for his unwavering stance,” he said.

He also gave “first credit to Turkey” for helping “Palestine” obtain observer-state status at the UN in 2012.

The PA president landed in Turkey Monday for a three-day visit. According to Erdogan’s office, the two are discussing the latest developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, regional and international issues, and the improvement of bilateral cooperation in various fields.