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6 Turkish political parties urge restraint in Israel-Hamas conflict in rare show of unity

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In a rare show of unity six political parties in the Turkish Parliament have in a joint declaration called for restraint in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, which started when Hamas fighters carried out an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Thursday.

The Islamist group launched thousands of rockets from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza and crossed the border with hundreds of militants, killing 1,300 Israelis, abducting an estimated 150 people and prompting Israel to retaliate by pounding Gaza.

Hours after the attack, Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said the country was at war. The Israeli military said it had called up an unprecedented 300,000 reservists and was imposing a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, signs it could be planning a ground assault there to defeat Hamas.

More than 1,500 people have been killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza since Saturday.

The conflict comes at a time when Turkey, which has supported the Palestinians in the past, hosted members of Hamas and backed a two-state solution to the conflict, is trying to improve relations with Israel after years of animosity.

According to DW, the joint declaration, titled “Conflicts occurring in Palestine and Israel,” was signed by the group deputy chairmen of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Green Left Party (YSP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the İYİ (Good) Party and the Felicity Party (SP).

Referring to the heavy civilian casualties, the targeting of civilian infrastructure and the dire circumstances that leave civilians unable to meet even their basic needs in the conflicts unfolding in Palestine and Israel, the parties said the crisis poses a grave threat to regional security and stability and has the potential to spread to other regions.

The declaration said the protection of civilians under all circumstances and the avoidance of practices resembling collective punishment are legal, moral and humanitarian imperatives. It called on all parties to exercise restraint and reason to prevent this tension from yielding “irreparable consequences.”

“The solution to the Palestine-Israel issue lies not in managing the consequences but in eliminating the root causes of the problems. The recent events are a result of an unlawful occupation and related policies that have persisted for 56 years,” the parties said.

They also stated that the cessation of food, energy and humanitarian aid to Gaza, which is home to 2 million people and has been turned into an “open-air prison” due to a 16-year blockade, and the indiscriminate targeting of civilian settlements, constitutes “a clear and severe violation of international law.”

Finally, the statement condemned “all attacks directly targeting civilians” and called for Palestine and Israel to commence negotiations for a just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution without further delay.

The joint statement came after a closed general meeting on the issue in parliament that was presided over by Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmuş.

“We are ready to fulfill every duty that falls upon us as Turkey, in order to establish a just and equitable peace in the axis of peace, trust and stability, to prevent the expansion of the war,” Kurtulmuş said in the opening speech of the meeting.

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