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Türkiye in favor of cease-fire, 2-state solution in Gaza, foreign minister reiterates

Türkiye favors and works for a cease-fire in Gaza, and a two-state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict, the country’s foreign minister reiterated on Thursday.

“Firstly, we are making efforts to ensure a cease-fire, to deliver humanitarian aid, and to prevent the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza,” Hakan Fidan said at the Turkish parliament.

He stressed that lasting peace and security can only be established with a two-state solution, adding: “The problem cannot be solved before the Israeli occupation ends. A sovereign and independent Palestinian state must be established as soon as possible.”

Underlining the importance of regional countries embracing the problem, he said the guarantor mechanism that Türkiye proposed addresses the matter, as the conflict deeply affects the entire region.

“We continue to engage in international initiatives together with my colleagues in the Gaza Contact Group established as a result of the Extraordinary Joint Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League,” he said.

The Contact Group enabled Islamic countries to jointly take diplomatic initiatives by taking a common stance, he noted.

The international community was forced to take a stand as a result of the contact group’s efforts, he added.

On Dec. 12, at the UN General Assembly, a draft resolution on an emergency humanitarian cease-fire was accepted with 153 votes.

“Compared to the vote on Oct. 26, the change in the attitude of the 27 countries, who previously abstained, in favor of Palestine is an indication that our diplomatic contacts are effective,” he added.

On Wednesday, the vote on a UN Security Council resolution calling for a suspension of hostilities in Gaza to deliver aid was postponed for the third day in a row.

Fifteen members of the Council on Thursday are expected to vote on the resolution, which was first postponed on Monday.

The text, drafted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), calls for the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and for urgent steps toward a sustainable cessation of hostilities.

Reminding that more than 20,000 innocent civilians, including 70% of whom were children and women, have been killed in Gaza, he said it was alarming that some Western countries publicly “support Israel’s massacres and war crimes.”

On the humanitarian efforts, the minister said Türkiye had delivered 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid for Palestinians to date.

“We also brought 283 cancer patients and injured people to our country. Our efforts to establish a field hospital in Gaza continue,” he added.

Türkiye also evacuated a total of 1,149 people from Gaza, and “continue the evacuation of our remaining citizens and their family members aiming to complete it safely as soon as possible,” he said.

Fidan also said that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will soon visit Türkiye for the 8th Türkiye-Iran High-Level Cooperation Council meeting.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, killing nearly 20,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring more than 52,000 others, according to health authorities in the enclave. There’s also been widespread destruction of homes and other infrastructure, besides shortage of food, water and medicines.

Israel says 1,200 people were killed in Oct. 7 incursion by Hamas.