Gul rejects imposing Israeli-PA deal

Turkish president, who supports PA state with e. J'lem as capital, sees no good in forced agreement.

gul abbas exchange vows 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
gul abbas exchange vows 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, whose country is a close Palestinian ally, on Friday rejected the suggestion that the international community set a deadline for Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, and that if an agreement is not reached then the UN should accept a Palestinian state as a full member. "Turkey, at every occasion, supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian state whose capital is east Jerusalem, but we believe in order to reach such a result, doing something without the consent of important actors will bring no benefits," Gul told a joint press conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ankara, according to the English on-line edition of the Turkish daily Hurriyet. "This could even turn out to be harmful," he added. "Turkey is ready to do its best on the road to be followed as long as there is a compromise on that." The suggestion about the UN imposing a settlement backed by the international community was made last week by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Turkey is presently one of the rotating members of the 15-nation UN Security Council. Abbas was in Ankara inaugurating what the Palestinian news agency WAFA called the "Palestinian Embassy in Ankara," which was built - according to WAFA - with the assistance of the Turkish government as a "symbol of friendship and brotherhood." During the inauguration ceremony Gul reportedly said that he hoped to one day "open an embassy in Palestine, in east Jerusalem." Israeli diplomatic officials downplayed the significance of Gul's comment about east Jerusalem becoming the capital of a future Palestinian state, saying this was longstanding Turkish policy, as well as the policy of a number of other European countries. Israel and Turkey have been working quietly in recent months to patch up relations badly strained by fierce Turkish criticism of Israel during Operation Cast Lead. Discussions are under way regarding a possible Gul visit to Israel later this year. Although the officials did not make an issue over Gul's comments on east Jerusalem, one official did point out that the opening of an embassy for the Palestinian Authority abroad contravened the Oslo accords. Nevertheless, he said, many countries have opened Palestinian diplomatic missions, getting around the Oslo issue by saying these are not embassies, but rather Fatah or PLO delegation missions.