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Israeli efforts to drive people out of Gaza ‘null and void’: Turkish president

February 14, 2024 at 7:28 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds a press conference in Cairo, Egypt on February 14, 2024 [Utku Uçrak/Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said attempts to “exile the people of Gaza” from their lands are “null and void”, Anadolu news agency reported.

Erdogan, during a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, said the forced depopulation of Gaza is “unacceptable.”

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in an interim ruling this January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Israel is also preparing a ground invasion of Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians have fled since the start of the war.

Erdogan said the “human tragedy in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially in Gaza” were at the top of the agenda during his meeting with Sisi.

“The Netanyahu administration must refrain from extending its massacres to Rafah, the last refuge of Gazans,” he asserted.

Erdogan urged the Islamic world and the global community, including the UN Security Council, to stop “such madness to lead to genocide.”

“It is our priority to establish a cease-fire as soon as possible to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza without any obstacles,” he said.

He said Turkiye will continue to cooperate and stand in solidarity with its Egyptian brothers to stop the bloodshed in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

“In the medium term, we are ready to work with Egypt for the recovery and reconstruction of Gaza,” the Turkish president said.

He thanked Egyptian authorities for their efforts to deliver humanitarian aid in Gaza, saying: “We brought more than 700 Palestinian brothers, sisters with their companions to Turkiye for their treatment through Egypt.”

He said Ankara is also working on the establishment of a field hospital in the Gaza Strip, and is counting on its “Egyptian brothers” to make it operational at the earliest.

Erdogan said they also discussed issues in Libya, Sudan and Somalia, adding that “we fully support the unity, territorial integrity and peace of these three brotherly countries.”

“We are determined to increase our contacts with Egypt at all levels for peace and stability in our region,” he said.

READ: Turkiye’s Erdogan on first trip to Egypt in a decade