Ankara- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the road to lasting peace in the Middle East was through the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, criticizing Israel’s continued settlement policy in the Palestinian territories.
“Israel should put an end to practices that undermine the two-state solution,” Erdogan told a joint press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday.
The Turkish president stressed that the solution to the Palestinian case was not only in the interest of the Palestinians but also in Israel’s interest, stressing that Turkey would maintain its efforts towards the success of the two-state solution in various international forums.
Erdogan received Abbas at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, where the two officials held a bilateral summit, followed by an extended meeting during a banquet held in the Palestinian president’s honor.
The two leaders stressed that there was no alternative to a two-state solution, and that Israel must stop its practices that “violate the essence and principles of a peace process in the Middle East.”
Turkish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the two sides discussed issues related to reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and the means to activate the peace process, pointing out that Ankara was moving in the framework of a new initiative at the request of Abbas, based on the Turkish rapprochement with Hamas.
The sources added that Ankara was planning to hold new dialogue meetings between Fatah and Hamas, and to provide an initiative to end divisions that have erupted in 2007.
They also said that Abbas has asked Erdogan to exert pressure on Hamas to dissolve its administrative committee and move towards the establishment of a government of national unity and the holding of legislative and presidential elections.
Erdogan has affirmed his country’s readiness to start a round of contacts with the concerned Palestinian parties, with the aim to achieve some progress in the reconciliation file and to try to bring the views between Fatah and Hamas closer through intensive meetings to be hosted soon.