Speech Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Şakir Özkan Torunlar, Consul General of Turkey in Jerusalem, Security Sciences Academy, Jericho, Palestine, 10 October 2012

Şakir Özkan Torunlar 10.10.2012
Dear Commander,
Dear Palestinian Friends,

It is a second time for me to visit and address to the Security Sciences Academy of Palestine in Jericho.

Upon the official request of Brigadier Akram al-Rajoub that reached my Office when I was in Turkey last month to accompany His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, today I have the honour and privilege to be again with you. As some of you may recall, I was here under this roof not very far ago. On 17 January 2012, I had the privilege of sharing with the members and students of the Academy a briefing on the “Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkey-Palestine Relations” and tried to answer some questions. We will have another meeting today, with regard to the role of Turkey as a regional donor.

As you all know, the Republic of Turkey is one of the major donors in the region when it comes to the suffering of its Palestinian brothers. It is worth to mention that, unlike to many other donors,her policy as a donor never turned to be a policy of financing the occupation.

Turkey, has pledged 150 million US dollars for Palestine in the Paris Conference at the end of 2007, and another 50 million US dollars in the Sharm Al Sheikh Conference on the Reconstruction of Gaza, after Israel launched its devastating operation to the Gaza Strip in December 2008-January 2009 which resulted with the death of nearly 1500 Palestinians, most of whom are innocent children, women and elderly.

Although Turkey’s support to Palestine, both in kind and in cash reached to the limits of what she pledged in Paris and Sharm Al Sheikh, Turkish Government and people do not prefer to wait for another Donors Conference to continue in its donations. Instead, as a nation always standing with and behind their Palestinian brothers, it’s both a duty of and honour for the Turks when it comes to meeting the needs of their Palestinian friends.

Attached to the invitation letter for today’s lecture, I have found a document titled “Information for Guest Speakers”. In article 4, I understand that the school expects from the speakers to also reply the question of whether the aid to Palestine is conditional or not. Let me tell you the clear answer of Turkey: In the case of Palestine, Turkey’s support to her Palestinian brothers is unconditional. Of course, I am not in a position to comment on the other donors who extend their support with preconditions.

Dear Friends,

The concept of security has much changed especially when the century turned from the previous one to the current one, which all of us in this room have witnessed.
The 21st century started with the attacks on twin towers in New York. These were followed with the terrorist attacks in İstanbul, in Madrid, in London and in Mumbai/India. Each of them shocked not only the residents of these towns, but the whole World, the entire humanity. These attacks had initiated a new discussion on the definition of terrorism but the United Nations fell short in defining it. In the west, especially the politicians and the press insist to talk about terrorism with an adjective in front of it and they mostly use the word with a label referring to Islam. I belong to the other camp. I believe that one can not label terrorism as Islamic terrorism, Christian terrorism or Jewish terrorism. Some academics try to explain the motives behind these attacks with religious motives. Some others with poverty. Some with nationality or ethnicity. Can you accept the phrase “Palestinian terrorism or Arab terrorism?” Personally I don’t. But a terrorist may come from a Muslim family or member of the Jewish faith. A terrorist may be an Israeli or an Arab.

The basic human right, is the right to life. If you do not allow the others to have their most basic right which you enjoy, you yourselves may not feel secure at your homes. Your policies in shelving others’ basic human rights or sweeping them under the carpet, may bounce back as a direct threat to you. Therefore, what we see today in our region, which some call it as Arab Spring, I call as Arab Awakening, is the direct result of the policies of the regimes who could not deliver the basic human rights for their own peoples. The awakening goes on in our neighbourhood. The regimes and the governments who fail to read the developments, or who resist to read and understand what goes on must not forget that they can only delay the unavoidable end, but can not stop it to happen. No need to go far up to Tunisia or Yemen. Just next door to Palestine, all of us see what is going on.

Dear Friends,

I am a member of the second generation who still waits for a just and viable solution for the suffering of our Palestinian brothers since 1948. My grandparents were alive when Nakba happened, my parents were in their 40s when Jerusalem was occupied. And today I am at my 50s still waiting for the international community to take its responsibility in paying its belated debt to the Palestinians. The debt is: To let Palestinehave its own much deserved state and have a seat around the table in the United Nations, as an equal member. For how many generations we will wait to pass with the international community depriving the Palestinians to have their own state within 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital?

While this question is waiting to be answered, on the other hand, we are thankful to the Ministry of Interior of the Palestinian Authority and the United States Security Coordinator programme with an aim to assist the Palestinian Authority in its statebuilding process. Taking into consideration our strong alliance with the United States that proved itself as an all-weather partnership and our deep-rooted historical, cultural bonds with Palestinian people, Turkey has decided to contribute to the programmes of the USSC. Since January 2009, Turkey is represented in the USSC with two personel of its Armed Forces who join the training activities of the Palestinian Security Forces, both in Palestine and in Jordan.

Furthermore, if I limit myself with the list of the bilateral activities that were carried out only in this calendar year, in other words since January, I may share the following list with you:

-Two Palestinian Brigadier Generals and a Liutenant Colonel, members of the National Security Forces of Palestine and attached with the USSC, visited Turkey for a period of two weeks.

-H.E. Dr. Said Abu Ali,Minister of Interior of Palestine, accompanied by a delegation, participated in the First INTERPA (International Association of Police Academies) Conference, held in Antalya, between 24-27 April, 2012. On this occasion the Ministers of Interior of Turkey and Palestine had the opportunity to have a bilateral meeting. This was the second meeting between them in less than 9 months. The previous meeting was in Ankara, in July 2011, when the Palestinian Minister of Interior attended the Second Conference of All Palestinian Ambassadors which Turkey hosted.

-3 Turkish police officials visited Palestine for training their Palestinian colleagues in the field of “Strategic Management”, between 17 and 23 June.

-4 Turkish police officials visited Palestine for training their Palestinian colleagues in the field of “Protection of Vulnerable Targets”, between 30 September and 6 October.

-2 Turkish police officials are in Palestine since Monday, 8 October, for training their Palestinian colleagues in the field of “Leadership and Management”.

-Beginning from today, till Sunday, 2 Palestinian police officers will participate in the International Symposium on Police Forensic Laboratory Departments, in Ankara.

We are also proud to observe that this summer, another 10 Palestinian students graduated successfully from the Turkish Police Academy. With this last batch, the total number of the Palestinian graduates of the said Academy who all received their training by the scholarships of the Government of Turkey reached to 83, since 2003. That’s why, wherever I pay a visit in Palestine, usually I meet at least one of these graduates whom we consider as ambassadors of Turkey.

With the same spirit, the Turkish Police Academy have granted 10 graduate, 5 postgraduate and 2 PhD level scholarships for this year.

When it comes to in kind donations to the Palestinian Police force, I remember the transfer of 25,000 uniforms from Turkey in 2006.

I also have the privilege to share with you that in the next couple of weeks Palestinian Police will receive 10 new motorcycles from Turkey, all equipped with the latest technology.

Dear Friends,

Last but not the least, I would like to share with you that the Turkish Police is also presented in Palestine with its 10 members as Turkey’s staff contribution to TIPH, the Temporary International Presence in Hebron. Your Turkish colleagues in Al Khalil play a very important role as observers reporting the maldoings of the illegal Israeli settlers in Al Khalil against its Palestinian residents.
I would like to conclude by extending my thanks for the kind invitation of the Academy and for your patience.

Ahmet Rıza Demirer Consul General