On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu held a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Palestinian presidency headquarters in Ramallah.
Çavusoglu arrived at the Palestinian presidency, where he was received by President Abbas, accompanied by a number of Palestinian officials.
The meeting dealt with the Palestinian issue and the current developments in the region. Çavusoglu conveyed the greetings of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his Palestinian counterpart and invited him to visit Turkey.
Today, Turkish and Palestinian officials signed 9 agreements and memoranda of understanding at the conclusion of the second meeting of the Palestinian-Turkish Joint Ministerial Committee at the headquarters of the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ramallah in the West Bank.
Çavusoglu and his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki signed 6 agreements, followed by the signing of 3 agreements by officials from both sides.
The agreements included a memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation in the areas of protocol, environment, water, the judiciary, and the exchange of archival documents belonging to endowments during the Ottoman Empire period.
The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation in police rehabilitation, mutual recognition of driver’s licenses, the host country agreement between the Turkish Knowledge Endowment and the Palestinian government, and a memorandum of understanding between the Palestinian Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Empowerment and the Turkish Presidency for Supporting Small and Medium Enterprises and their Development.
Çavusoglu said in a press conference with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki on Tuesday in the city of Ramallah that his country’s support for the Palestinian cause is completely separate from its relations with Israel.
Çavusoglu added that Turkey will continue to “coordinate with the Palestinian side regarding the normalization of relations with Israel, and our support for the Palestinian cause is separate from our relationship with Tel Aviv.”
He stressed that Turkey will continue to “stand by our Palestinian brothers in their struggle for an independent, sovereign state.”
He explained that everyone knows the importance Ankara attaches to the Palestinian cause and that they are working side by side with Al-Maliki in this direction.
He pointed out that this importance of the Palestinian cause is demonstrated by all groups in Turkey, and that it is a cause that receives the support of all political parties in our country.
Çavusoglu pointed out that “unilateral steps, illegal settlements and forced evictions have destroyed the ground for peace.”
He stressed that the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, is essential and that no one should depart from the vision of the two-state solution.
He stated that the events in Al-Aqsa Mosque hurt all Muslims, wishing God’s mercy for all the Palestinian brothers who lost their lives following the Israeli incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Turkish minister made it clear that he will visit Israel tomorrow, Wednesday, to discuss the Palestinian issue with officials there, as well as bilateral relations and regional issues.
He stressed that Turkey’s policy towards Palestine cannot be changed, pointing out that the Turkish-Israeli talks contribute greatly to easing tension and making the issue and the voice of the Palestinians more heard.
On the nine agreements signed between the two sides, Çavuşoğlu said that they will move the Turkish-Palestinian relations to better points in various fields.
He pointed out that there is close cooperation between Turkey and Palestine and a rapprochement between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
He added that Turkey is a trading partner of Palestine and that he discussed with his counterpart increasing the trade exchange between the two countries to two billion dollars.
He pointed out that the deficit in the trade balance between the two countries is in favor of Turkey and that Ankara will make every effort to increase Palestine’s exports to Turkey.
He explained that strengthening the economic infrastructure of Palestine will increase the welfare of the people who live under difficult conditions, noting that President Erdogan has given the necessary instructions to the relevant Turkish ministers and institutions in this regard.
He added that the Turkish Cabinet, in its meeting Monday, discussed the issue of establishing a free industrial zone in Jenin in the West Bank.
He revealed that Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Muş will visit Palestine on June 29-30 to discuss economic relations between the two countries.
He also mentioned that they want to increase cooperation with Palestine in the field of education, pointing out that the Turkish Knowledge Endowment will support education in Palestine with the agreement signed today.
In turn, the Palestinian Foreign Minister described Çavusoglu’s visit to the Palestinian territories as “very important” and said in the same press conference with his Turkish counterpart that they discussed “the general concern and the situation of the Palestinian cause.”
Al-Maliki added: “I explained to the minister the situation in the Palestinian land and the daily war crimes that Israel commits against the Palestinian people, and we talked about the bilateral relations in many details.”
He continued, “We have noticed great interest from the Turkish side, and there is consensus on all the issues that have been raised,” noting that this consensus “reflects the political development between the two countries at the highest levels.”
He said, “We proceed from a strong, authentic base in bilateral relations and are working to develop them and institutionalize political relations and other aspects.”
Al-Maliki continued: “The meeting was between friends and brothers, and there was harmony and consensus in all issues, and there is an interest on the part of the minister in the suffering of the Palestinian people and their struggle for independence.”
He said, “We listened to what strengthens and strengthens our position in continuing the struggle for freedom.”
Al-Maliki described the meetings of the joint committee as “successful”, and said: “They agreed to hold the third round of them next year.”
The Palestinian-Turkish Joint Ministerial Committee, formed since 2010, includes representatives of Turkish and Palestinian institutions and ministries, and held its first meeting in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
The Turkish foreign minister arrived earlier today at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv and headed directly to Ramallah to meet Palestinian officials.