Countries should recognize Palestine as independent state – Erdogan

Countries should recognize Palestine as independent state – Erdogan
Thu Dec 28, 2017 08:38:23

Turkish President believes that Donald Trump will review the situation that he is in regarding Al-Quds.

(Daily Trust) -- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Sudan, Chad and Tunisia, last week, bringing to 24 the number of African countries he has visited. In this interview with AllAfrica’s executive chair, Amadou Mahtar Ba, at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, the Turkish leader condemned the slave trade markets in Libya and US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

You have visited 24 Africa countries as a Turkish leader. How do you explain this huge interest you have for Africa?

The series of visits to the African nations is not new. In the year 2005, we declared the year as the Year of Africa. Then, I was the Prime Minister for Turkey. And after I had made a commitment that my visits would sustain.

We used to have 12 embassies in the African continent. But then, we have decided to open our embassies all around the African countries. We have now 39 embassies. However, we still hope we can prevail in every country of the African continent through our embassies, and we are going to achieve that because we are very determined.

We are always trying to explore new ways of solidifying our relations with the African nations, and Turkish Airlines is the strongest pillar for our strategy. Turkish Airlines is flying to 55 destinations in 33 countries, enabling our people to travel to those countries and the people in those countries to travel to Turkey reciprocally.

What do [decisions on Israel] at the United Nations Security Council and at the General Assembly mean to the Muslim world?

For the Islamic world, Al-Aqsa Mosque is very important because it’s our first qibla [the direction Muslims face to pray]. And of course, Al-Quds [the Arabic word for Jerusalem] is very important for Christians. As the term chair of the OIC, I was calling the leaders of many Islamic countries. I’ve also had contact with the leaders from the Christian world.

Especially, I’ve called His Holiness the Pope and I’ve shared my thoughts and opinions with him vis-à-vis Al-Quds. And praise to Allah, he is thinking alike. I’ve spoken to the German Chancellor, and similarly President Macron of France; I’ve talked to him. And I’ve also talked to President Putin of Russia. These are the issues that I’ve discussed with all of these leaders around the world so as not to confine this matter within the boundaries of the Islamic world, because this is not an outstanding problem for the Muslim world. This is an outstanding issue for all of us.

I think President Trump is going to review the situation that he is in. He needs to take the following step forward in my point of view. If we are defending peace, we have to say yes to two-state solution in Palestine. But if we’re not and if we want the Middle East to get pushed into a further conflict and turmoil, then the price will be upon President Trump and Israel.

So you expect Trump to come back on his decision. And if he doesn’t, what’s the next course of action?

He does or he does not. The step to be taken forward after this moment is all about the 128 countries siding with Palestine and all of the countries which had reservations. We should get together and take up an initiative.

Palestine should be recognized as an independent and sovereign state by all of these nations that voted in favour of the resolution at the UN. And after that is accomplished, the U.S., willingly or non-willingly, will have to interpret this situation accurately. I don’t think they will be very insistent on repeating their mistakes. And at the end of the day, they will come back to the truth. Taking Israel by your side and walking ahead like that will not be very fitting for the United States.

What’s your view on how Turkey can work with the African nations to tackle critical issue of peace and security in the continent?

We have been fighting terrorism for the last 35 to 40 years. We have paid a hefty price. And we no longer wish to pay any price whatsoever whilst fighting terrorism. That’s why fighting terrorism has become our number-one priority for us, and we’ve intensified our efforts cultivating great accomplishments.

We are ready and committed to cooperate with all of our friends across the African continent. And the number-one priority for us is solidarity with our African brothers and sisters in all of these areas I have listed previously.

Recently, slave trade markets were discovered in Libya. What would you tell the African youths about migration and the risks associated with it?

When it comes to slavery, we will never allow the refugees to be traded off as slaves because that can never be approved in the eyes of our religion. I would like to call out to the Libyan administration and the Libyan youth, please do not be played, do not be fooled. Slave markets are prohibited internally by our religion. Do not resort to them. Do not fall for them. And please do everything you can to save those who have fallen to slave market.

As the Libyan administrators, as the government officials: expeditiously leave all your differences behind and embark upon a democratic process once and for all so that the will of the Libyan people can be exercised. Through that, general elections can take place and a new administration can emerge. Libyan people will be loyal to a freely and democratically elected government in order to run for a better future.

How would you react to reports that there is lack of press freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey?

The reports produced by the western countries about the freedom of expression and freedom of the press are not impartial.

We should know that a media person does not enjoy indefinite freedom. There is a limit to our freedoms. The limit is where the freedom of the others shall begin. And media persons cannot support terrorism. If they are harbouring terrorists, then there will be a price to be paid. Those who have been sentenced or detained or who have fled Turkey - the so-called media people - have committed crimes. Not crimes of expressions, not the crimes of free thought.



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