Erdogan: Recognizing Palestinian state is an obligation

Turkish PM condemns Israel's policies; Arab League calls on international community to back Palestinians' UN statehood bid.

By REUTERS
September 13, 2011 16:35
2 minute read.
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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CAIRO - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Edogan told a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on Tuesday that the recognition of a Palestinian state was "not an option but an obligation."

In a speech that will buttress his image as a regional leader, Erdogan also condemned Israel's stance, saying the "aggressiveness" of its policies "threaten the future of the Israeli people."

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"The recognition of a Palestinian state is the only right way. It's not an option, but an obligation. God willing, by the end of this month, we will have the opportunity to see Palestine in a very different status at the United Nations," Erdogan said.

"It's time to raise the Palestinian flag at the United Nations. Let's raise the Palestinian flag and let that flag be the symbol of peace and justice in the Middle East. Let's contribute to securing well deserved peace and stability in the Middle East."

Arab states will push for a fully fledged Palestinian state at the United Nations next week.

The Palestinians decided to seek United Nations recognition of statehood after years of negotiations with Israel failed to deliver the independent state they want to establish in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, areas occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.

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Erdogan, who has seen his popularity rise in the Arab world for his position against Israel, said the Israeli government's policies were an "obstacle to peace".

Turkey has downgraded its ties with former friend Israel over the 2010 killing by Israeli commandos of nine Turkish activists on a Turkish aid flotilla bound for Gaza.

"Israel will break away from solitude only when it acts as a reasonable, responsible, serious and normal state," Erdogan said.

"While Israel is trying to secure its legitimacy in our region on one hand, it is taking irresponsible steps which unsettle its legitimacy on the other," Erdogan said.

The Turkish prime minister was visiting Egypt at the start of a North African tour aimed at cementing Turkey's standing in the region following the "Arab Spring" uprisings.

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