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Palestinian National Initiative Movement Leader Barghouti: Turkey Continues Relations with Israel


Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative Movement, has called on the Erdogan government to end all political, commercial, diplomatic, and military relations with Israel. Speaking to TR724 at the “Global Anti-Apartheid Conference for Palestine” held in Johannesburg, South Africa, Barghouti criticized Turkey and Arab countries for not fully boycotting Israel, while praising the South African government for standing with the Gazans.

Dr. Barghouti, who lives in the United States and has recently become prominent through his fervent defense of the Palestinian cause on international channels, provided details about the three-day event in Johannesburg, which was also attended by Turkey’s former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu: “I think this meeting is very important, and we thank South Africa for hosting it. What we are talking about here is the creation of a global anti-apartheid movement against Israeli Apartheid in Palestine. I believe this is a historic moment because it will lead to a repeat of the anti-apartheid movement that brought down the apartheid system in South Africa, which was based on white supremacy. What we are discussing here may be a more complex situation because we Palestinians suffer not only from occupation and apartheid but also from a terrible settler-colonial system. We hope this conference, this meeting, will spark the creation of a strong anti-apartheid movement. This will help bring freedom and justice to Palestine.”

When asked, “President Erdogan of Turkey has faced significant criticism for increasing trade with Israel after the October attacks. What would you like to say about Turkey’s policy towards Israel?” Barghouti responded: “I think Turkey, and all Muslim and Arab countries, should do the same; that is, to completely and fully boycott Israel. Economic relations, intelligence relations, military relations, all kinds of relations should be completely and fully boycotted. I know that Turkey has taken a few steps in this regard following the recent elections. That’s good, but we need more, and we really need the effort of all Islamic and Arab countries. They had come together a long time ago in Saudi Arabia. They announced that they would implement humanitarian aid, but this was not done. Therefore, I think it’s time for them all to come together and make a joint decision, and Turkey should play a significant role by declaring a full and complete boycott against Israel until it stops this genocide.”

Dr. Yahya Abu Seido, founder of the Palestinian Student Activism Association: We expect more action from Turkey

Dr. Yahya Abu Seido, founder of the Palestinian Student Activism Association, which organizes student movements for Palestine at universities in the UK, told TR724 that while Turkey’s harsh criticism of Israel is appreciated, they expect more action from the Turkish government for Palestinians.

Dr. Abu Seido, who lost his university position due to organizing student actions for Palestine, shared the following details: “I am the founder of the Palestinian Student Activism Association. This is an organization we set up in the last few years to support Palestinians, students, or pro-Palestinian communities in the UK with their activism. Right now, there are a lot of protest camps spreading like an uncontrollable fire at every university in the UK. We are currently at 20 camps, and our number is still increasing. There will probably be a few more next week. The UK helped establish Israel. Therefore, having a strong pro-Palestinian activist network in the UK is extremely important. While students demand that their universities sever ties with Israel and join the academic boycott, they are also fighting to rebuild the education system that Israel has completely destroyed.”

Dr. Seido continued: “Based on my experiences in the UK, especially in the last six months, I think it’s very clear that Israel is committing genocide, and I think, on average, most British people are aware of this and are very disturbed by what’s happening. The only step left is to mobilize the British public and pressure their governments to stop being complicit in the genocide against the Palestinian people.”

Zionists are also active, lobbying against Palestinians, and in the past six months, the Palestinian Student Activism Association has helped support Palestinian students or pro-Palestinian students who faced expulsion penalties by university administrations or underwent investigations and disciplinary processes, according to Seido, who noted that they won many cases and managed to return students to their education.

The struggle against Israel started with the first spark from South Africa

Dr. Seido, who generally prefers not to comment on the internal policies of different countries, said, “I would say that Palestinians are generally disappointed with the Arab and Muslim world. Turkey is raising its voice against Israel’s crimes, but more action is needed.”

Young activist and academician Seido stated that action is needed for Palestine from all parts of the world, from the West to the East, from the Middle East to Africa, and that a global conference against Israeli Apartheid, led by the South African government, is very timely, and they will follow South Africa’s struggle against whites as a model, without the need to reinvent the wheel: “We can follow the methods used to dismantle the apartheid regime in South Africa. We can use the same systems and the same strategies in the struggle for freedom in Palestine. And we are here for that. We are here to learn from each other and to work together for a free Palestine.”

Davutoğlu faced a seating crisis

Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who gave an interview to South African State Television SABC, said he received an invitation to the long-organized conference only two weeks ago and came to Johannesburg to thank the South African government.

An official from the organizers of the support program for Palestine, who wished to remain anonymous, told TR724 that there was a crisis with Davutoğlu’s team because they wanted Davutoğlu and his wife to sit next to South African Foreign Minister Dr. Naledi Pandor, but protocol required them to seat Dr. Mustafa Barghouti next to Pandor instead.

To SABC’s question, “Why don’t Muslim countries support South Africa at the International Court of Justice?” Davutoğlu gave evasive answers, persistently praised the South African government, and avoided answering the question.

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Turkmen Terzi is a journalist, researcher and political commentator focusing on International Relations and Political Science based in South Africa.

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