Turkey seeks to host meeting on Israeli settlements issue
Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin yesterday said he planned to call on the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC-PUIC) to convene a special session to discuss recent developments in east Jerusalem. Sahin, alongside his visiting Lebanese counterpart Nebih Berri, told reporters in Ankara that Turkey wants to host a special gathering of OIC member state parliament speakers to discuss Israel's controversial move to permit the construction of new Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem. The PUIC's secretary general has already begun working to organize the gathering, Sahin said, adding that recent developments in the region would be discussed during the meeting. Turkey has been affected by recent developments in the Middle East, a region it has historic and cultural ties with, Sahin said, adding that the country feels a natural responsibility to promote peace and stability in the region. He said Turkey favors a peaceful resolution to the Middle East's problems, adding that Israel's decision to greenlight the settlements makes this much more difficult. He said talks between Israel and Palestine, as well as Syria and Lebanon, should be revived in order to reach a comprehensive peace in the region, adding that Turkey is ready to play its part to help this process. Turkey has always supported and will continue to support efforts to protect the stability and welfare of Lebanon, which has suffered from frequent political tension, he said. Berri, for his part, said Turkey had earned the whole world's appreciation for its stance on the Palestinian issue. He also met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul during his talks in Ankara.