Supporting Human Rights: Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Committee to Visit Gaza

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In a significant development that underscores the unwavering commitment to human rights, the Human Rights Committee of the Turkish Parliament is actively preparing for a pivotal visit to Gaza. This undertaking aims to scrutinize and address the alarming human rights violations unfolding in this besieged Palestinian city, which has been under the weight of Israeli sanctions.

The initiative, led by Derya Yanık, the former family minister who now presides over the Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, comes in response to the dire situation in Gaza. Israeli airstrikes and an ongoing blockade have inflicted immense suffering on the civilian population, and the Turkish Parliament is determined to witness the situation on the ground firsthand.

At a recent press conference held in Ankara, Derya Yanık, accompanied by fellow lawmakers, articulated the pressing concerns of this humanitarian mission. She highlighted the continuous Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip over the past 18 days, targeting not only civilian infrastructure but also places of worship, hospitals, and marketplaces. The Israeli blockade, which restricts access to basic humanitarian aid, has exacerbated the crisis in a region already densely populated.

“We are deeply concerned about this unfolding humanitarian drama,” Yanık stated. “Israel’s actions have resulted in the displacement of countless people, a blatant violation of human rights and international laws. The toll is immense, with over 5,000 civilians, including over 2,000 infants and children, losing their lives, and more than 10,000 civilians suffering injuries due to Israel’s actions.”

Turkey has consistently maintained its principled stance of opposing attacks on civilians, regardless of the assailants or motivations, with a primary focus on safeguarding the well-being of Palestinian and Israeli civilians, as well as hostages on both sides.

The urgency of the Turkish Parliament’s mission to Gaza became even more pronounced when Israel struck a hospital, resulting in hundreds of casualties. This act was met with widespread condemnation from Turkish politicians, uniting all political parties in the Turkish Parliament. In a rare display of unity, they issued a joint statement that strongly denounced Israel’s actions as a “crime against humanity.”

The statement expressed deep sorrow for the Palestinian lives lost and injuries sustained in the wake of Israel’s airstrikes, emphasizing the gravity of these attacks. It also highlighted Turkey’s unwavering support for the people of Palestine and its commitment to closely monitoring the evolving situation in both Palestine and Israel.

The statement went on to emphasize Turkey’s condemnation of Israel’s increasing attacks on Gaza, which are in clear violation of international law and humanitarian principles. The Turkish Parliament extended condolences to the Palestinian victims and called upon the international community, world parliaments, and organizations to take a decisive stance and initiate actions to halt these atrocities.

Turkey stands as one of the few nations that openly condemns Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on Palestinians. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has consistently advocated for a resolution to the ongoing conflict based on a two-state model, aligning with the long-standing demands of Palestinians. The Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, has been actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to seek a solution to the conflict and has recently proposed a “guarantorship model” for resolution. Turkey has also been actively involved in providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians, having sent substantial aid shipments to the Rafah border crossing, Gaza’s sole land connection to the outside world.

Derya Yanık, reflecting on Turkey’s unwavering commitment to ending the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, emphasized, “Since day one, Turkey has taken the necessary political, diplomatic, and humanitarian actions to put an end to this humanitarian tragedy caused by Israel’s actions, which we believe amount to genocide.”

The Turkish Parliament is calling upon the United Nations, global non-governmental organizations championing human rights and democracy, countries advocating for human rights, and influential individuals to take action to halt Israeli violence, which they assert amounts to war crimes and genocide. Yanık also urged media outlets, particularly in the United States and Europe, to uphold global principles of journalism and stand with humanity, rather than legitimizing Israel’s actions.

In addition to these crucial developments, the Turkish Parliament has, on Tuesday, approved agreements to establish friendship groups with the parliaments of 147 countries. Notably, in response to recent events, Israel was excluded from these agreements.

Parliamentary Speaker Numan Kurtulmuş called upon the international community to fulfill its responsibilities toward the people of Gaza, who are facing the destruction of hospitals, a dire shortage of basic necessities such as water, and a critical lack of medical equipment. He expressed the unacceptability of double standards and hypocritical approaches in addressing the conflict and criticized the international community’s support for Israel.

The Turkish Parliament’s mission to Gaza is a resounding testament to the unwavering commitment to human rights and the pursuit of justice in the face of adversity. Geneva Council remains dedicated to shedding light on crucial global issues and standing in solidarity with efforts that uphold human rights and humanitarian values.

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