Turkish FM: "No Middle East peace without Jerusalem"
Monday, May 12, 2014
ANKARA - Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said those people who do not understand the importance of Jerusalem and Palestinian rights there are "attacking the conscience of humanity."
Speaking in the opening ceremony of "International Meeting on the Question of Jerusalem" in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Monday as part of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Davutoglu said there are three steps to be aware of when discussing Jerusalem.
"We should be aware of the areas of ethical and ontological, cultural and political responsibility for Jerusalem," said Davutoglu.
Davutoglu recalled that under the terms of international law, the city of Jerusalem is regarded as under occupation, and there were two major problems to consider under this framework, those being refugees and Jerusalem's legal status.
"We are witnessing occupation of Palestinian lands since 1948, as well as Al-Aqsa Mosque. The international community should ensure justice and the rule of law through different platforms," said Davutoglu. "If the UN decisions are not being implemented, then why they were taken in the first place?"
The tensions ongoing between Arabs and Israelis since WWI erupted in November 1947, when war broke out between Israel and a military coalition of Arab states and Palestinian forces.
The UN General Assembly's offered a Partition Plan to divide the area into an Arab state, a Jewish state and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem -- this led to another war, commonly known as the 1948 war for Palestine. Israel took control of 60 percent of the Palestine lands, defended by a UN resolution.
The city of Jerusalem has been the object of conflicting claims by Jews and Palestinian Arabs, as both peoples consider it an irreplaceable part of their national essence.
Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, says that the entire city is the capital of Israel and must remain under Israeli sovereignty. This claim is not recognized by the international community.
Davutoglu also recalled that Al-Aqsa Mosque is a sacred site for Muslims and cannot be occupied.
"Nobody can take sole authority over Jerusalem, peace in the Middle East is impossible without it," said Davutoglu. "Jerusalem is Palestinian land and I hope Palestine will be a member of United Nations. It is the UN's obligation to do so."
Davutoglu called on the international community to form a charity campaign for the Palestinian people who are "in deep sorrow."
The Ankara meeting is jointly organized by the UN's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Turkey.
Speaking after Davutoglu, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Iyad bin Amin Madani thanked Turkey for its efforts towards protecting the rights of Palestinian people.
"The incidents in 1948 were effective in forming the Islamic Cooperation Council. We see ourselves as the protectors of the Palestinian people," said Iyad. "The city should be given to Palestine. Islamic Cooperation Council is worried over the implementation by Israel on Jerusalem. They are trying to erase the city's Arab identity and erase religious history."
Mehmet Gormez, Head of the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs, was also present in the meeting.
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