The US is now left alone on the Gaza issue after it blocked the passage of a UN Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, Türkiye’s foreign minister has said.
“Our friends once again expressed that America is now alone on this issue, especially in the voting held at the United Nations today,” Fidan told Anadolu Agency and TRT on Friday, in an exclusive interview in the US.
Fidan was in the capital Washington, DC along with his counterparts after they were assigned by a joint Arab-Islamic extraordinary summit last month to press for a ceasefire in Gaza, which has been under Israeli attacks for over two months.
The summit mandated the foreign ministers of Türkiye, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Nigeria to take international action to stop the war in Gaza and achieve lasting peace.
The committee separately met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, with think tanks, media organisations and politicians.
During their meeting with Blinken, Fidan said the group, which has become “almost the spokesperson and interpreter” of world public opinion, “frankly” expressed the tragedy in Gaza and its effects.
‘American political system is now helpless’
Turning to the US veto of the UN Security Council resolution on Gaza, Fidan said: “As we expressed in our meetings today, the American political system is now helpless on issues related to Israel. Therefore, Israel acts recklessly on this issue and continues its oppression.”
The US on Friday vetoed the resolution, which was put forward by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and backed by over 90 member states. There were 13 votes in favor and the UK abstained.
Noting that the contact group will continue its work on Gaza “without interruption,” Fidan said it will continue to be the spokesperson of the world public opinion’s feelings on this issue.
He added that the contact group will hold meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Saturday.
After Canada, he said the contact group will have meetings in Norway next week and later in Geneva.
Bilateral talks with Blinken
Speaking about his bilateral meeting with Blinken, Fidan said Türkiye brings up its position regarding the situation in Gaza “very clearly” with the US.
“We express to them very clearly the seriousness of the situation here, that there is no more tolerance, and our stance on what steps need to be taken in this regard,” he added.
Fidan said he also discussed Sweden’s NATO membership with Blinken, adding: “Of course, our position on this issue is clear.”
Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership shortly after Russia launched its offensive on Ukraine in February 2022.
Although Türkiye approved Finland’s NATO membership, it is waiting for Sweden to fulfil its commitments not to provide shelter to terrorists or supporters of terrorists and not to facilitate their actions.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed Sweden’s NATO accession protocol and submitted it to parliament in October for a ratification vote.
“From now on, it is at the discretion of the parliament, and we have conveyed this to our counterparts,” Fidan said.
Fidan said the normalisation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia was also on the agenda during his meeting with Blinken.
“We, as Türkiye, said that we support the peace agreement between the two countries and that we are doing our best to make it happen
“They also agree on this issue. We think that normalisation in the region will be in the interest of the region,” he added.
On Thursday, Azerbaijan and Armenia issued a joint statement announcing their agreement to mutually release detainees in a step toward peace.
Türkiye believes that a lasting peace in the South Caucasus can only be achieved through a comprehensive and permanent peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan.