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9 Oct, 2023 22:19

Erdogan ready to mediate between Israel and Palestine

Ankara will step up its diplomatic efforts to restore peace in the region “as soon as possible,” the Turkish president has said
Erdogan ready to mediate between Israel and Palestine

Attempting to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza through military means would only further exacerbate the people’s suffering and provoke a “spiral of violence in the region,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday during talks with his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog.

Ankara also asked both Israelis and Palestinians to avoid further bloodshed and vowed to step up its diplomatic efforts to restore calm in the region.

“Türkiye … is ready for all kinds of mediation, including prisoner exchange, if the parties request it,” Erdogan wrote in a lengthy statement on X (formerly known as Twitter). The Turkish president made the statement following a phone conversation with Herzog and talks with several Arab leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Erdogan himself called Monday’s talks “very productive,” adding that Ankara would expand its diplomatic contact and would “make every effort to end the conflict.” Israeli media reported that the Turkish leader had warned the Israeli president against indiscriminate strikes against Gaza and imposing “collective punishment” against all Palestinians.

In his statement, Erdogan also said that Israel’s own policies were partly to blame for the outbreak of violence over the weekend. West Jerusalem’s approach, which includes “constantly harassing the Palestinian people, disregarding the safety of their life and property, seizing their homes and lands” only stirs up conflicts and leads to unrest, which ultimately threatens the security of both Palestinians and Israelis themselves, he argued.

Türkiye condemns both attacks on Israeli civilians and “oppression, cruelty, extrajudicial killings, and threats to life and property” of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli authorities and illegal settlers, Erdogan said. He also called both the “disproportionate” destruction of Gaza and attacks on Israeli cities “completely unacceptable.”

It is not time to “act impulsively,” the Turkish leader said, calling on Israel to halt its bombing campaign against Gaza and on Palestinians to stop the “harassment of civilian settlements in Israel.” Both sides should act with “reason, coolness, and human conscience,” he added.

Neither of the two sides has publicly responded to Erdogan’s offer so far. According to British tabloid The Sun, the Gaza-based Hamas militant group was reportedly open to discussing a potential truce with Israel as of Monday.

The developments came in the wake of a major Hamas attack on Israel. Militants breached the border between Gaza and the Israeli territories and briefly overran nearby settlements last weekend. The group also launched thousands of missiles at Israel. The attack claimed the lives of more than 900 Israelis, according to the authorities.

The Israeli military responded with massive air strikes against Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also announced a “complete siege” of the Palestinian exclave on Monday, adding that electricity, fuel, and food will be cut off in the area, which has a population of over 2 million people.

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