Turkey might take Hamas' truce conditions to UN, PM Erdogan says

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Turkey might take Hamas truce conditions to UN, PM Erdogan says
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Ocak 05, 2009 00:00

Turkey could bring Palestinian Hamas' conditions for ceasefire to the attention of the United Nations, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said late on Sunday. Turkey has been elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council as of January 1. (UPDATED)

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"We could bring the conditions of Hamas for a ceasefire to the attention of the United Nations. Hamas officials have full confidence in Turkey," Erdogan was quoted as saying by broadcaster CNNTurk.


Erdogan also criticized Israel for laying the groundwork for provocation without removing the embargo on Palestinians, CNNTurk reported.


Earlier on Sunday Erdogan slammed Israel's Gaza operation, saying the disproportional use of force causes "humanitarian tragedy."


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Thousands of Israeli troops, backed by columns of tanks, warplanes and gunboats, fanned out across Gaza after nightfall Saturday, bisecting the coastal territory in two and widening an 8-day-old aerial onslaught meant to quelch rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel.

"Israel creates a humanitarian tragedy with using disproportional force. This would cause problems for Israel as well," Erdogan told reporters in the southern province of Antalya in his reaction to Israel's incursion of Gaza.

He said he would discuss the latest situation in Gaza in his meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Monday.

Erdogan had visited Middle East countries after Israel launched air operation against Gaza in Dec. 27. He returned Turkey on Sunday as he ends his Middle East tour aimed at helping to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.

Erdogan on Saturday met Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh, his last stop in consultations over the past week. The Turkish prime minister met the Middle Eastern leaders in Egypt, Syria and Jordan earlier in the week.

"Killing defenseless children and women in Gaza by using excessive force is nothing but atrocity. I am calling out to the whole world to display the same sensitivity it showed during theGeorgian conflict, now in Gaza," Erdogan told reporters before departing from Saudi Arabia.

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"Israeli offensive against Gaza led to a humanity tragedy. It was dreadful that 185 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 others were injured on the first day of the offensive. We could not remain silent in the face of such a tragedy. Therefore, we took our steps to fulfill our responsibilities," he was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying.


"I paid visits to Syria which holds the rotating presidency of the Arab League, and Jordan. In Jordan, I had the chance of meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine and discussing the recent developments with him. Then, I proceeded to Egypt to hold talks with President Mohamad Mubarak since Egypt was the mediator of the truce in June 2008," he said.


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Erdogan said his shuttle diplomacy with Arab countries in the search for a cease-fire in the Middle East completed with his meeting with King Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia.


"Hamas abided by the truce. But Israel failed to lift embargoes. In Gaza, people seem to live in an open prison. In fact, all Palestine looks like an open prison. I am calling out to the whole world: why didn't you display the same sensitivity you showed in Georgia, now in Gaza? The United Nations, the United States and the EU-member states mobilized for Georgia immediately. But now, no one takes action for Gaza," he said.


"I call on Israel to allow dispatch of humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza," he said. Erdogan also highlighted importance of resumption of talks between Hamas and Egypt. "We are ready to do everything in our power to ensure peace and stability in the region," he added.

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In Egypt, Erdogan revealed a two-phase plan to end the tensions in the Gaza Strip: urging the foreign ministers of the Arab League to take the initiative for an immediate cease-fire and securing reconciliation between the Palestinian fractions of al-Fatah and Hamas.

More than 460 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive, at least quarter of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

Turkey fears the recent developments in Gaza could have a spillover effect in the region and could worsen the already fragile situation. The fighting has troubled Turkey's efforts to help broker peace between Israel and its Arab opponents.

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