Turkey’s parliament speaker on Wednesday reaffirmed Ankara’s support for the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation into Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.
Speaking to reporters in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, Mustafa Sentop said the ICC ruled earlier this year that it has jurisdiction over Palestinian territories and launched a probe that may pave the way for legal proceedings against Tel Aviv for war crimes.
“We [Turkey] support this decision and all the possible steps that may be taken in this direction,” he said.
In February, the ICC announced that it has territorial jurisdiction in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Less than a month later, the independent war crimes court based in The Hague announced that its investigations into crimes committed in occupied Palestinian territories “will be conducted independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”
While the move was welcomed by Palestinians and multiple other countries, it has also been opposed by some quarters, most notably Israel and the US.
Sentop said it was unfortunate that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been unable to achieve a lasting solution to the Palestine issue, despite its defining purpose being the protection of Jerusalem and Palestine.
“Unfortunately, some Muslim countries either remain silent [on the Palestine issue] or do not raise their voices loud enough; this is not right, this is not okay,” he asserted.
He said Turkey took the lead in opposing Israel’s recent attacks on Palestinians and orchestrating a strong diplomatic pushback against Tel Aviv.
“The recent incidents during Ramadan, first in East Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and then in Gaza, disturbed all of the over 2 billion Muslims all around the world,” Sentop said.
“Diplomatic efforts were initiated and intensely pursued, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to raise a voice against the state terrorism of Israel and to make sure that those responsible are tried and punished.”
Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank last month killed at least 289 people, including women and children, and left a trail of destruction.
Health centers, schools, and media offices were among the structures that Israeli forces destroyed with impunity in an 11-day aerial assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.
Afghanistan peace process
The Turkish parliament speaker also expressed concern over the escalating violence in Afghanistan, calling on all sides to end the conflict and work for lasting peace in the war-weary country.
“Over recent months, compared to previous years, we see that the violence, the killings, and the terror in Afghanistan has, unfortunately, increased. This should be stopped,” Sentop said.
Sentop thanked Pakistan for organizing the second general conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization (PAECO) in Islamabad.
He said there were positive discussions on concrete steps to boost cooperation among countries part of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
“PAECO is an important regional organization of countries with more than 450 million people,” he said.
The two-day event that began on Tuesday was attended by top parliamentary officials from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.