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Israel’s ongoing occupation policy 'biggest obstacle before peace in region'

Israel’s ongoing occupation policy 'biggest obstacle before peace in region'

Turkey’s ambassador to Vatican says Jerusalem is holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims; religious differences should not hamper collaboration

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Jerusalem must be a city of peace for everyone and the only way to achieve this is to recognize the rights of Palestinians and to end Israeli attacks on Palestine, Turkey’s Ambassador to the Vatican said on Monday.

Commenting on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s phone talk with Pope Francis on his social media account, Lutfullah Goktas said Jerusalem stood as a holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike and the biggest obstacle standing before the regional peace was Israeli aggression and occupation.

“As constantly underlined by President Erdogan, Turkey is against all types of violence. Jerusalem must be a city of peace for everyone and the only way to achieve this is to recognize the rights of Palestinians and to end Israeli attacks on Palestine,” Goktas said on Twitter.

Turkish envoy continued: “Attacks on civilians, including children, acts of violence and violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as occasional restrictions and provocations against other holy sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are by no means acceptable.”

He called on the international community not to remain silent in the face of recent developments and said the Turkish government welcomed every effort and initiative aimed to establish peace, and Erdogan’s phone talk with Pope Francis was a “concrete expression of this stance.”

"Committed to further strengthening of relations between Turkey and the Holy See, President Erdogan and Pope Francis are calling on international community to take concrete steps to achieve peace. Religious differences do not pose any obstacles to working together, as a people, towards peace," he said.

Since May 10, the Israeli army continues with its offensive on Gaza in which many of the government buildings, residential buildings and infrastructure were destroyed.

At least 200 Palestinians, including 59 children and 35 women, have been killed and 1,305 others injured in Israeli airstrikes, according to the latest figures.

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