Emine Erdogan hosts ‘One Heart for Palestine’ summit with other first ladies

AA "I invite the spouses of all heads of state to be the voice of those killed in Gaza and those whose voices are being suppressed and silenced while a mass slaughter continues,” says Emine Erdogan. / Photo: AA

Türkiye’s first lady Emine Erdogan has called on her counterparts worldwide to be a voice for Gaza and to help stop Israeli attacks that have so far killed over 11,000 Palestinians.

Emine Erdogan hosted the summit “One Heart for Palestine” with other first ladies from around the world on Wednesday in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul as part of Ankara’s efforts to end the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza.

In her opening speech at the summit, Erdogan warned Israel that through its actions in Gaza, it will be remembered along with “the cruelty that wanted to destroy the Jews,” evoking the Holocaust.

She asked what is the difference between Hiroshima and Gaza, referring both to the volume of bombs dropped on the besieged enclave — the equivalent of two nuclear bombs, according to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor — and an Israeli Cabinet minister suggesting an atom bomb could be dropped on it.

Asking what “the global conscience” is waiting for to stop the missiles raining down on Gaza’s children, Erdogan said: “As the above ground has been turned into a hell and the underground has been turned into a necropolis of children, it is never possible for any promised future to materialise there.”

“Who can ever feel really safe in an order that has been built upon such a destruction?” she asked.

Addressing both Israel and the five permanent members of the UN, she said: “What critical threshold of death are you waiting for to stop this ferocity?”

40 days of ‘shame’

She described what has been happening in Gaza for the last 40 days as “the era of shame.”

“We will never surrender to this darkness that discriminates one life from another, that devalues everyone who is not like it,” she underlined.

“For this reason, I invite the spouses of all heads of state to be the voice of those killed in Gaza and those whose voices are being suppressed and silenced while a mass slaughter continues,” she added.

She reiterated the call for “ceasefire, peace, and humanitarian aid,” adding that all the first spouses should unite their words for an immediate ceasefire: “What you see is not a war, it is the strong exploiting the weak.”

This summit should be a concrete initiative taken for peace in Palestine, she stressed.

“We owe a future for Gazan youth that is suitable for human dignity other than either to kill or being killed,” she indicated.

“That is why now is the time to establish the long-overdue peace promised by the two-state solution, which includes a fully independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and whose territorial integrity is preserved,” she underscored.

“For the peace and tranquillity of the region and even the world, the unjust occupation of Palestine (by Israel) must end and Israel must return the lands it seized to its owner, the Palestinians,” she advised.

She added: “Gaza must be rebuilt from its ruins to offer a bright future for its children.”

“A fund should now be established within international organisations such as the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to rebuild the schools, parks and hospitals destroyed by Israel,” she suggested.

Mothers should kiss their children to sleep, not to their graves, she added.

Messages from participators

“While powerful men debate the language of diplomacy, children are dying, we need action and a ceasefire (in Gaza), not just words,” said Scottish First Minister Hamza Yusuf’s wife, Nadia El-Nakla.

Speaking at the summit, El-Nakla thanked Emine Erdogan and said: “The sole reason for our gathering here today is for humanity to prevail and to prevent more innocent men, women, and children from dying.”

Describing her parents as Palestinian, El-Nakla stated, “My family and I, along with 2.2 million people living in Gaza, have been under blockade for 17 years; food, water, electricity, fuel – all controlled and restricted by foreign powers.”

Mother of the Amir of the State of Qatar, Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, said that Israel continues its attacks on Gaza as usual, disregarding all international law.

“International humanitarian law is being violated as these people are ruthlessly killed, and their homes are destroyed. This is undoubtedly a complete violation,” Sheikha Moza.

Palestine and its people “are not included” in the international human rights declaration, said the wife of the Prime Minister of Libya, Amina Ali Mohammed Al-Shawush Al-Dilaw.

“Likewise, Article 3 states that every individual has the right to life and peace. However, today, we have all witnessed an exception within the International Declaration of Human Rights. We have seen and observed that Palestine and the Palestinian people are not included in this declaration. This has been the case not just today but for years,” she said.

Al-Dilaw pointed out that civilian people are being indiscriminately killed with military weapons, indicating a complete humanitarian crime and catastrophe in Gaza.


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