The Speech Delivered by Ambassador Sarnıç, Consul General of Turkey in Jerusalem, On the Occasion of 92nd Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, 29 October 2015

Mustafa Sarnıç 29.10.2015
Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished representatives of international community,
My dear citizens and guests,

It is a distinct honour for me to welcome you to our national day reception, which marks the 92nd anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. We highly appreciate to celebrate this important day with your valuable presence.

Dear guests,

Founded under the able leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923, modern Turkey was built upon the principles of maintaining and flourishing peace and stability at home and in the world.

Turkish foreign policy continues to aim at promoting these crucial principles in its region and beyond through cooperation and resolute efforts.

It is much more meaningful to commemorate this very special occasion in Jerusalem, with which we are proud of having a centuries long common history, close cultural and social ties.

Dear guests,

Turkey attaches utmost importance to its bilateral relations with the Palestinian State. We strongly support Palestine to be recognized as a state and take its rightful place in international arena.

Following the upgrade of Palestine’s status to a “non-member observer state” at the UN in 2012, the Palestinian flag took this year its proud place among the flags of other nations at the UN Headquarter. Although this events constitute valuable landmark towards a sovereign Palestinian state within 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, we are still waiting for the international community to pay its debt to the Palestinians.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Unfortunately, the Palestinians continue to face a dire situation. They have endured constant turmoil and conflict for decades. Their lives have been devastated with insecurity and their hopes unjustly have faded. As events continue to unfold, it has become more evident that the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people must be fully and timely addressed.

In fact, only through a just and comprehensive settlement of this question, would we be able to pave the way for sustainable peace, security, stability and development for all peoples in the region.

Hence we support a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of international law that would ensure two states living peacefully side by side within secure and recognized borders. Preserving the status quo on Harem-Al Sharif is of utmost importance to us. Ending the blockade and lifting all restrictions on Gaza still remains as our main priority.

Distinguished guests,

The people of Palestine has to be empowered with all the means available. This is an ethical and humanitarian mission for the whole international community. In this regard, since 2004, to improve the daily lives of the Palestinians and provide a sustainable socio-economic infrastructure to the State of Palestine, Turkey provided more than 370 million US Dollars’ worth direct and indirect assistance to Palestine via our institutions like TIKA, the Turkish Red Crescent, The Turkish Cultural Center, the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Markets, the General Directorate of Religious Affairs and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority.

At the international donor conference which was held last October in Cairo, Turkey has pledged 200 million US Dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza.

As a concrete indicator of the human bridge between Turkey and Palestine, every year over one hundred young Palestinians are studying in various Turkish universities with scholarships provided by Turkey.

Dear Guests,

The prominent Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) has been providing development assistance to support the Palestinian people in various fields ranging from health and education to infrastructure and capacity building in East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip. Turkey meanwhile continues to provide with humanitarian assistance to Gaza, including food, medicine and fuel.

Distinguished guests,

Finally, I would like to express my best wishes for the peace and prosperity of the people of this region and thank you all for honouring our National Day Reception.

Ahmet Rıza Demirer Consul General