Presidential candidate and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed Turkish diplomats at an AK Party iftar dinner for chiefs of Diplomatic Missions and ambassadors on Tuesday evening in Ankara.
In his speech Erdoğan expressed his hope that Ramadan will bring peace, prosperity and tranquility to humanity and called on Israel to end its assault on Gaza and stop killing civilians. "Women and children are being brutally killed in Gaza by Israel," said Erdoğan, who shared the latest figures on the damage caused by Israel with those in attendance. At least 194 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,400 others injured in unrelenting Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip since last Monday. "Regardless of what we believe and regardless of our sect, how can we explain the actions of Israel?" Erdoğan asked.
Regarding the two-state solution between Palestine and Israel, Erdoğan said efforts to achieve lasting peace has failed because there is a lack of sincerity. Erdoğan also stressed that depriving Palestinians of human dignity is the biggest roadblock to peace in the Middle East and once again ruled out restoring ties with Israel until it permanently halts strikes against the Gaza Strip and lifts the siege on Gaza.
He also reiterated his condemnation of the international community for its failure to stop Israel's attacks on Gaza and touched on the fact that such comments do not promote his popularity worldwide. "The prime minister of the Republic of Turkey is surely not loved. Of course he won't be loved. Where in the world are those who tell the truth loved? But we will continue to tell the truth," he said.
Erdoğan added that "Israel and the West are using disinformation to legitimize the killing of innocent Palestinians." He also called on the international community to support Gaza and said that the U.N. has failed to do what it was founded to do. "If the U.N. cannot do their job and settle world peace, they have to check and review themselves," he said.
Erdoğan also spoke about the situation in Iraq and said the Iraqi constitution has been violated and the Iraqi people have been deprived of their fair share of resources. "The Iraqi central government is responsible for the recent chaos in the country and the activities of [the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)], are affecting us and the region. Our citizens are being kept hostage."
Regarding Turkey's EU negotiations process, Erdoğan said that Turkey as a country has continued negotiations with the EU, shares common values with the EU and a vision that created a zone of peace and prosperity across Europe. He also stressed that Turkey is determined to continue its reform process. "Turkey's EU membership will be a meaningful answer to racism, and the clash of civilizations thesis not only at a regional but even in global level," he said. Erdoğan added that the government is expecting to open new chapters and accelerate negotiations during the Italian EU presidency and get the international community to increase pressure on Greek Cypriots to end the block on EU negotiation chapters.
Touching upon the Cyprus issue, Erdoğan said that Turkey wants a political settlement based on political equality of the two communities in Cyprus and mutual consensus. "We maintain the understanding of always being a step ahead in all matters. We expect the international community to give such messages to the Greek Cypriot side in a strong and determined way," Erdoğan said.