Turkey pledges US$1 million to Palestinians

Say donation is intended to help them create their own state and fund its government.

erdogan 298.88  (photo credit: AP [file])
erdogan 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Turkey signed an agreement Monday to give US$1 million (€780,890) to Palestinians for business development, saying such donations were intended to help them create their own state and fund its government. The donation comes amid a push by Turkey to use international pressure to end Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, which began after the capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas-linked Palestinians militants. On Sunday, some 20,000 Turks loudly backed the Turkish government's indignant protests, staging a massive anti-Israel demonstration in Istanbul. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has called the killings of Palestinians as part of the Gaza military offensive "horrifying," and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called on Israel to end attacks and release "kidnapped" Palestinian officials. Speaking at the signing ceremony Monday, Foreign Minster Gul said the money would be used to create and fund a Palestinian state and to develop new leaders. He said the two-state solution was being jeopardized by Israel's actions. "New generations are being fed with ideas of enmity and revenge," he said. The agreement was signed in Ankara between Turkey's coordinator for Palestinian social and economic projects and the top Palestinian diplomat to Turkey, Nebil Maruf. Maruf thanked Turkey for the donation, but said Turkey's "political stance" was even more important. "The political stance of Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Gul has always been just and clear," he said. Gul said Turkey was working out plans to send some 10,000 tons of flour for emergency food aid to the Palestinians.