First create a Palestinian state, and then make peace, Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday in Washington, in a reversal of the
conventional wisdom regarding what is needed to achieve an Israeli- Palestinian
Erdogan, who called Hamas as well as Fatah his “brothers,”
said during the question and answer period following an address at the Brookings
Institute that “those who agree to an Israeli state, cannot agree to a
“Israel itself does not accept a Palestinian state,”
Erdogan said, ignoring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s 2009 Bar-Ilan speech
where he said he accepted a two-state solution.
“As long as Israel does
not accept a Palestinian state, there is not much to talk about in terms of
trying to achieve peace, because peace can be made between two states – and
those two states, with all its institutions, all of its bodies, will be in
existence, I think that is something we have to look at,” he
Erdogan, who met US President Barack Obama on Thursday, said that
borders are the most important element of a peace agreement – giving short
shrift to Israel’s position that security is the most important
“Israel has to withdraw to the 1967 borders,” Erdogan
said. “When [Ehud] Olmert was prime minister, we used to talk about this,
and he was positive on the border issue. But the governments after Olmert’s
government are not – unfortunately – very positive on this because of the makeup
of the governments there, and they have adopted a different
Erdogan said that Hamas will need to be “around the table” for
peace to emerge, and that if Hamas and Fatah can reach a reconciliation, “then I
think the talks with Israel could move forward more swiftly.” He said he did not
believe Israeli-Palestinian talks could yield any results without a Hamas-Fatah
Turkey, he said, treats the Palestinian issues with as
much “sensitivity” as it does a domestic Turkish issue.
In response to
his comments, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is respoinsibel for peace talks,
said there is no chance that Israel could reach a peace agreement with
In an interview Saturday evening with Army Radio, Livni said that
Erdogan views Hamas positively, and this has been his stance for
“This perception is not correct,” she said. “Hamas represents an
Islamic ideology that does not recognize Israel’s existence.
prefers to isolate itself than to say that Israel has the right to exist or to
Livni also said that advanced weapons supplied by
Russia to war-torn Syria could end up in the wrong hands in Syria or Lebanon,
referring to Hezbollah, and be used against Israel.
“These are not just
any weapons, they are tie-breakers, and that’s why there is a responsibility
with all world powers, certainly Russia, not to supply such arms,” Livni said,
adding that Israel had the right to defend itself.
While in Washington,
Erdogan said that he is going ahead with plans to visit Gaza in June, but also
added that he would visit the West Bank as well. His initial announcement that
he would go to Gaza sparked protests in Washington and Ramallah that by so
doing, and not coming to Ramallah, he would be strengthening Hamas at the
expense of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
government officials said they were not aware of any talk about Erdogan visiting
Jerusalem as well during that trip. A visit to Ramallah, however, would
necessitate coordination with Jerusalem. Theoretically he could go to Gaza
through Egypt, however, without having to coordinate with Israel.Reuters
contributed to this report.
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