Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed attendees at the TÜGVA event held at the Beştepe Presidential Complex in the capital Ankara on Thursday.
Below are the key points from President Erdoğan's significant remarks:
"We regard it as our foremost duty to stand by the oppressed, regardless of their origin, and to prevent the shedding of blood, suffering, and massacres. We stand firm, unyielding to pressure and threats, resolute in our stance. As a nation that has remained committed to justice throughout history, our approach to the Israeli-Palestinian tension is consistent with these principles.
Over the past three days, I've engaged in meetings and delivered speeches on this matter. But let's reflect on the current situation: there is a severe shortage of water, bread, and food in Gaza, a situation that clearly contradicts the principles enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights. This raises the question: where is the Western world? Are they taking any measures at this critical juncture? It appears not. Instead, we hear reports of the United States sending an aircraft carrier, with a second carrier en route. This prompts us to question the role of the U.S., its presence in the Mediterranean, and its involvement in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Is it facilitating peace or fanning the flames of conflict? What are the expectations from America in this situation?
When the crisis initially emerged, we called on all parties to exercise restraint. We sought to find solutions to conflicts through dialogue and telephone diplomacy. I personally conducted phone conversations with 13 world leaders at the head of state and government level. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs and the head of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) maintain ongoing contact with their counterparts, and diplomatic negotiations are in progress.
It's disheartening to observe the bombing of Egypt's Rafah gate. In response, we proposed taking steps to provide humanitarian aid from our side. However, that location was also targeted. We raised this issue in discussions with President Sisi and held meetings with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and the Emir of Qatar. We have concrete steps to take. The people in Gaza are suffering from a lack of water and food, which is a direct violation of the principles outlined in the universal declaration of human rights. Interestingly, this doesn't seem to be a concern for some parties, while it deeply troubles us.
We've unequivocally stated our disapproval of actions that target civilians. Our primary concern was to extinguish the fire that threatened to engulf our entire region, rather than adding to the chaos. We firmly believe that disproportionate violence will only lead to more violence, more suffering, more destruction, and increased instability. Regrettably, this is precisely what has occurred in Gaza. The scale of these attacks, which has resulted in a massacre, defies comprehension. The termination of electricity, water, fuel, and food supplies to 2 million Gazans living in a confined area is both inhumane and morally unacceptable, with no place in the realm of international law.
Israel's consistent occupation of these territories and the suffocation of Palestine within a tiny enclave necessitated a return to the 1967 borders. In contrast to non-state entities, nations are bound to adhere to the laws governing warfare and human rights. Unfortunately, it appears that this commitment is eroding.
The dispatch of aircraft carriers loaded with soldiers and weaponry raises questions about their intended purpose. Preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people is counterproductive. Peace cannot be achieved by turning a blind eye to human suffering. We do not wish to witness further escalation in these conflicts or, God forbid, their spread to our region.
We call upon all influential actors in the region to use their voices and influence to decrease tensions rather than blindly taking sides. We have intensified our efforts to provide humanitarian aid to our fellow Gazans. Our aim is to manage this crisis with the sensitivity and wisdom befitting a nation with millennia of experience, all while ensuring that our policies remain unaffected by emotions."