'Turkey gives support to Palestinian statehood efforts'

Turkish envoy to UN says int'l community "must not turn a blind eye to the just and legitimate appeal" of Palestinians, 'Zaman' reports.

April 23, 2011 08:57
1 minute read.
Turkish Ambassador to the UN Ertugrul Apakan.

Ertugrul Apakan_311 reuters. (photo credit: Omar Sobhani / Reuters)


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Turkey declared its support for Palestinian efforts to obtain UN recognition of statehood, according to a report published Saturday morning in the Turkish daily, Zaman.

According to the report, Turkish Ambassador to the UN Ertuğrul Apakan said, "The time has come to show solidarity with the Palestinians and help them to live in peace and dignity."

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“Through their state building efforts, the Palestinian Authority has proven to all the skeptics that they deserve to attain their decades-long target of internationally recognized statehood, even though they continue to suffer under occupation,” Apakan was quoted as saying by Zaman.

The ambassador added that if the Palestinians show they are ready to move from current observer status at the UN to full statehood, the world "must not turn a blind eye to their just and legitimate appeal."

Apakan also stressed that the needs of Palestinians who live in Gaza must be addressed.

According to the Zaman report, he warned that "humanitarian flotillas" attempting to break through Israel's blockade should not be "explained away as unilateral provocations" to violence.

Last week, Turkey said it had received a request from Israel to help stop activists sailing to Gaza on the first anniversary of the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, but it said the flotilla plan was not Ankara's concern.

The Free Gaza Movement, a pro-Palestinian activist umbrella group, has said that a flotilla expected in late May would comprise 15 ships with international passengers including Europeans and Americans.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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