World Bulletin/News Desk
The Palestinian president has said his people would never forget Turkey's support for the Palestinian cause.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was awarded with an "Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities" by the Palestinian Al-Quds University at a ceremony held in the Turkish capital on Friday.
Speaking at the ceremony, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian cause was an important and sacred issue just like the holy city of Jerusalem.
"Tolerance, co-existence and respect to others are the messages that resonate in Jerusalem," Abbas said, underscoring that the city belonged to the Arabs and would always remain so. P
ointing to the history of Jerusalem, Abbas explained how Palestinians had protected the city for years despite occupation and destruction.
"Denying the facts does not eliminate the facts," the president said and continued, "Whatever the Israeli government does, the Dome of the Rock still shines on the city and the churches also illuminate the city. The old city is still preserving its Islamic and Christian identity. As for the future of Jerusalem, forced settlements and pressure upon people will not work. Today, people, men, women, youngsters and the elderly who show patience will determine the future of the city".
Naming the Jerusalem conflict as a righteous issue, Abbas said Palestine would be meaningless without Jerusalem as its capital. "If Israel continues the extension of settlements, only the door of peace will be shut," he said.
Abbas also said presenting the Turkish prime minister with an honorary doctorate was a meaningful occasion, adding Erdogan was the symbol of Turkey's support to Palestinians.
"As long as Jerusalem survives, we know that you will be supporting our cause," Abbas said. He also stated that Erdogan deserved the most heartfelt gratitude and thanks in that sense.
"We will never forget the continuous support of Turkey and the martyrs of the flotilla attack. We will never forget what you have done for the prisoners in Israeli prisons and how you treated them at your hospitals. We will never forget your economic and political support in the international arena," he said.
Speaking at the ceremony, President of Al-Quds University, Sari Nusseibeh, said that Erdogan always talked about the importance of people and human dignity.
Pointing to the prime minister's contributions to education, human rights and freedom of expression, Nusseibeh said, "The principles you support and you advocate will last in Turkey in the future. As long as you live and work, the achievements of the country will go on."
Praising Erdogan's support to Palestine, Nusseibeh also said, "your position against the embargo on Gaza, your position that stands by the Palestinian people and your position against the military destruction of Israeli forces in Jerusalem is not only of utmost importance for Palestinian people, it is also important in the sense that you justify the righteousness of the Palestinian cause".
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"It is not possible for us to continue the peace process with those who threaten our national unity and brotherhood," said Erdogan, who told a news conference in Ankara ahead of his departure on an official visit to China.