Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday and said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the main hindrance to world peace.
Israel, he said, flouts the United Nations' authority. "It has failed to abide by 89 biding UN resolutions and has ignored hundreds of others... This is a blow to the sense of international of justice."
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He urged the international community to "heal the bleeding wound that is the human tragedy suffered by the Palestinian people," and "show Israel that it is not above the law."
"Turkey's support of the Palestinian bid is unconditional… We stand ready to work actively for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the lifting of blockade of Gaza… This is a natural extension of Turkey's commitment to regional stability," he said."
Turkey, he added, "is a trustworthy and sought after in the international arena... we will not give up on our principles and policies."
"The Israeli leadership must understand that nothing can replace peace. You must read the Middle East's political map and understated that the situation cannot go on. Those who defend Israel must understand that real security can only come with peace." Erdogan said
He also spoke at length of Ankara's aid to Somalia and urged the global body to bolster global humanitarian efforts worldwide.
Ergodan also made a bid for Turkey's seat in the UN Security Council in 2015-2016 and asked for the member-nations' support.
'Normalization still far off'
Erdogan's address followed a Wednesday meeting with US President Barack Obama, who urged him to both join the West's sanctions of Syrian President Bashar Assad – brought on by the latter's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters – as well as to resolve the diplomatic crisis with Israel.
A White House statement said that Obama and Erdogan also sought common ground on counterterrorism and Middle East policy.
Also on Wednesday, Erdogan was interviewed by acclaimed PBS broadcast journalist Charlie Rose. The Turkish PM was asked about Ankara's crisis with Jerusalem, brought about by the deadly raid of a 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla, which left nine Turkish citizens dead, and reiterated Turkey's demand for an official Israeli apology and the end of the blockade on Gaza.
Erdogan said that the "Israeli mentality" was the reason for the crisis, adding that the normalization of Jerusalem-Ankara relations was unlikely unless Israel "changes its tune."
Normalization, he said, required Israel to apologize for the Marmara raid, pay restitution to the victims' families and lift the Gaza blockade. The three, he stressed, were a prerequisite to any improvement in the two countries' relations.
Erdogan further dismissed the notion that his belligerent anti-Israel rhetoric of late was meant to gain popularity in the Arab world, saying that "This isn't about popularity, this is about justice."
He said that he holds the Israeli government responsible for the tensions between the two countries, and not the Israeli people, adding that it was "his understanding" that the Israeli public was "unhappy with the government."
The 66th UN General Assembly opened on Wednesday, with speeches by US President Barack Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as other prominent statesmen, who addressed various issues on the global body's agenda, such as the Arab Spring, the war on terror and the upcoming Palestinian statehood bid.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to submit the PA's official request for UN recognition to the UN Security Council on Friday.
Attila Somfalvi and Yitzhak Benhorin in New York contributed to this report
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