Turkey says ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories is first priority

turkey says ending israel's occupation of palestinian territories is first priority

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul. — Reuters

Tension between Israel and Iran should not distract from the situation in Gaza and the first priority of the international community should be ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said.

Fidan was speaking in Istanbul on Saturday during a visit by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who urged Iran and Israel to exercise restraint.

Shoukry’s visit to Turkey comes amid high tensions in the Middle East following the apparent Israeli attack on Iran. Israel has said nothing about the incident.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Fidan, Shoukry said there was concern in the region over the ongoing escalation.

“We’ve warned of the expansion of the conflict from the very beginning,” he said.

“We’ve called on both parties (Iran and Israel) to exercise restraint.”

Fidan said the main cause of instability in the Middle East was Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and Western backing for Israel.

“Any development that could distract us from this fact should be ignored,” he said. “Our first priority should be ending Israel’s occupation in Palestine and a two-state solution.”

He said he and Shoukry discussed efforts for delivering more humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Separately, Shoukry said Egypt would host a Turkish delegation to prepare for a visit by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to Turkey at a future date.

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