Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Oct. 8 urged the formation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Speaking at the inauguration of the St. Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Church in İstanbul, Erdoğan said “The Palestine conflict is at the heart of our region’s problems. Peace will not come before this conflict is resolved. A two-state solution must be pursued. A Palestinian state based on the boundaries of 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital is an urgent need.”
Erdoğan said, “Jerusalem is a blessed place. The rights of Muslims and Christians were gradually violated as the Ottomans withdrew from the region. Jerusalem, a place of peace for centuries, has now become a symbol of usurpation and destruction.”
“Today, we act with the motto that a just peace has no losers. The Palestinian issue must be resolved in accordance with international law so the region can achieve peace. Our hearts break to see babies die and people suffer. Turkey is ready to do its best to stop the conflict and reduce tensions as soon as possible. We are determined to continue our diplomatic efforts to restore tranquility,” he added.
Erdoğan also condemned “the religious discrimination in the Balkans and Western Thrace”, and added “It is our duty to stand with the oppressed against the oppressor, regardless of their identity.”
Hamas fighters began their attack at dawn on Oct. 7 with a huge barrage of rockets into southern Israel, giving cover to an unprecedented, multi-pronged infiltration of fighters into Israel from Gaza, a narrow strip that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, according to reporting from Reuters.
Israeli media reports Hamas attacks killed over 700 Israelis with dozens abducted. Israel’s Oct. 8 retaliation on Gaza killed 413 Palestinians and wounded 2300 according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
The fighting comes as Ankara was working to repair ties with Israel after years of acrimony over the status of Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.