Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey was determined to ramp up diplomatic efforts to achieve calm in the fighting between Israeli and Palestinian forces, but added that a two-state solution was the only way to achieve regional peace.
Turkey, which has supported Palestinians in the past, hosted members of the Islamist group Hamas which launched the attack on Israel, and backed a two-state solution, said on Saturday it was ready to help de-escalate tensions.
Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan repeated a call for both sides to avoid steps that will exacerbate the conflict, and added that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was at the root of all problems in the Middle East.
“So long as this problem is not resolved in a fair way, our region will continue to live in longing of peace,” Erdogan said.
“Lasting regional peace will only be possible by finding a final solution to the Palestinian-Israeli issue. In this regard, as we have always underlined, the preservation of the two-state solution perspective is very important.”
He added the formation of an independent Palestinian state, in line with the borders set out in 1967, with its territorial integrity intact, and with Jerusalem as its capital was now “a necessity that cannot be delayed.”
“As justice is delayed, unfortunately the price of this is paid by Palestinians, Israelis, and our whole region,” Erdogan said.
The fighting comes as Ankara was working to repair ties with Israel after years of acrimony over the status of Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Since fighting began on Saturday, Turkey’s foreign minister Hakan Fidan has held calls with his U.S., Palestinian, Spanish, Qatari, Saudi, Iranian, Egyptian, and Jordanian counterparts to discuss the matter.
Erdogan warned against “adding fuel to the fire” on Sunday, and said Turkey was ready to do whatever it can to ease tensions and stop the violence.
“We are determined to continue the diplomatic efforts we have started to re-establish calm by intensifying them. We call on all parties with a say in the region to sincerely contribute to peace,” he said.
On Sunday, Israel’s envoy to Ankara said it was too early to discuss mediation and said Hamas’ attack showed the group should have no presence in Turkey or elsewhere.
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