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Erdogan: Negotiations don't mean failure
Photo: AP
Erdogan: Heritage sites will never be Jewish
Turkish prime minister says Rachel's Tomb, Cave of Patriarchs will forever be Islamic sites

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined the Palestinians and various Arab states in criticizing Israel for its heritage plan, which includes sites located in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

 

"Al-Aqsa mosque, the Cave of Patriarchs, and Rachel's Tomb will never be Jewish sites, but rather Islamic ones," Erdogan told Palestinian reporters Sunday.

  

"Palestine is our problem, it has never been removed even for a day from our agenda," the Saudi al-Watan newspaper quoted Erdogan as saying.

 

The Turkish leader added that he supports the Arab League's decision to promote indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians through US mediation.

 

"Our withdrawal from the negotiations table will not contribute to our interests, but our determined and unchanging stance is very important. We must fight for our right to be united and protect this right. Sitting at the negotiating table does not mean failure, and the power of the negotiators will deliver us to the outcome we hoped for," he said.

 

Erdogan reiterated his opinion that Gaza is "not open", and called on the Palestinians to end the rift between Hamas and Fatah.

 

He also called for the removal of the siege on the Strip. "I always say that Palestine is an open air prison and the entrance of a case of tomatoes into this prison requires Israel's approval. Can we speak of human rights in such a state?" he asked.

 

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