Turkey urges Israel not to impede Palestinian elections

Foreign Ministry calls on Israeli government to end 'obstructive' stance, respect 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement.

Turkey urges Israel not to impede Palestinian elections

Turkey on Friday called on the Israeli government to end its "obstructive" stance and facilitate Palestinian elections.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Turkey is saddened by the news that the Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections -- which were set to be held for the first time since 2006 in the country -- were postponed as a result of the meeting held Thursday with the participation of Palestinian groups.

The main reason to delay the polls, the statement said, is that Israel did not respond to the appeal by the Palestinian administration to hold elections in Eastern Jerusalem and did not allow election campaigns to be carried out.

"We call upon the Israeli Government to end its obstructive policies and to respect the provisions of the 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement, so that the Palestinian elections will be conducted at the earliest possibility," it read.

"On a separate note, we hope that the decision to postpone the elections will not have a negative impact on the intra-Palestinian reconciliation process, to which our country attaches great importance. We encourage all Palestinian groups to continue working towards unity and reconciliation," the statement read.

Earlier, Palestine was expected to hold legislative elections on May 22 and presidential elections on July 31 for the first time in 15 years.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday they will not hold elections with Jerusalem excluded from voting.

"We will not go for the elections without occupied Jerusalem, I want elections in Jerusalem as in the West Bank," Abbas said in a televised speech.

He said the Israeli side had not given an answer to the Palestinian request for holding the polls in Jerusalem "because there is no Israeli government to take such a decision."

Abbas, however, stressed that once Israel permits elections in Jerusalem, the polls will be held within a week.

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Hüseyin Demir

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