Turkish first lady Emine Erdoğan warned that Israel crossed a "red line" in retaliating for Hamas terrorist's unprovoked Oct. 7 attack that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 Israelis.
In an interview with Newsweek published Monday, Erdoğan said "[e]very conscientious person's red line should be the life of an innocent person taken for a crime he did not commit, or a baby's tear, or a child's cry of 'I want to live.'
"What red line can we possibly discuss while we are burying our humanity one by one with our Palestinian sisters and brothers who are being slaughtered? We must now ask the global community: Where does humanity draw the line? What critical threshold of death are you waiting to put an end to this atrocity? In the face of attacks that have been going on for weeks, the global community has been deafeningly silent. How aware are we that the cost of these 40 days of silence will be years of mending and rebuilding of trust?"
During the interview, Erdogan did not condemn Hamas' attack.
She argued that "[e]very child has the right to a safe and comfortable home, as well as a good education and health care, regardless of where they are born." Palestinian children, she said, should have the same "access to rights and opportunities" as "children from Ukraine, Europe, America, [Turkey], or other nations."
She said that Palestinian youth must be offered "an option other than killing or being killed," and stressed that a "just, lasting and sustainable peace" in the region can only be achieved if the cycle of violence is broken.
"What kind of future can a child imagine when his home is destroyed by missiles, his UN shelter is bombed, he loses family members in the attacks, he has nowhere safe to go, and he cannot even find a hospital to have his wounds treated?" Erdoğan asked. "Or how is he supposed to react to the heinous persecution he is subjected to? How can a young Palestinian person, deprived of the most basic human rights and surrounded by suffering, death, and loss, not respond with violence?"
The lifelong social activist described Israel as "a belligerent state" that is "clearly committing war crimes, amounting to crimes against humanity, in violation of universal humanitarian values and international law."
Israel has maintained that it has broken no international laws as it wages war against the terror group. It responded to the terrorist attack with an unprecedented aerial bombardment on Gaza and followed with a ground operation to root out Hamas terrorists and rescue the more than 200 people taken hostage by Hamas.
"In my capacity as a first lady, I have conducted telephone diplomacy with several spouses of other heads of state and government from the region and beyond to explore potential collaborative efforts, with a particular focus on the distribution of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip," she said. "On Nov. 15, I hosted the United for Peace in Palestine Summit in Istanbul to be the collective voice of the Palestinian people and humanity. At the conclusion of the summit, we, as 19 spouses of heads of state and government and country representatives, addressed the international press and made a joint appeal to the international community for an immediate ceasefire and the full delivery of humanitarian aid to the region."
Turkey has sent "10 planeloads of humanitarian aid exceeding 230 tons to El-Arish Airport," Erdoğan said, referring to the Egyptian airport near the southern Gaza border. The country is also continuing its preparations for "sending two civilian humanitarian aid ships to the region."
"Earlier, a large ship carrying 50 containers filled with field hospitals, medical and other aid supplies arrived in Egypt," she said. "Another ship departed from Izmir carrying approximately 500 tons of aid materials to be delivered to Gaza. The ship has equipment, including medicine, medical devices, eight field hospitals, 20 ambulances, and medical supplies."
Despite the desperate situation she described in Gaza, Erdogan said "there are reasons to maintain hope at the international level."
"Today, Western public opinion is developing a political awareness against Israel's brutality despite all its direct and indirect propaganda attempts, and today we see large demonstrations against Israel are being held in Western capitals," she said. "These demonstrations represent a global voice of conscience, and that voice cannot be drowned out. We call on all countries that want a just, lasting peace for the region and for the world to listen to the cry of the people for peace, not to silence it. They need to mobilize all their resources to end the conflicts and to call on all parties to comply with international law."
She demanded that "the civilian population in Gaza be protected and we urge that humanitarian relief reach those in need without delay."
"Israel should be put under pressure for this," she said. "Our government will maintain its moral position and seek to supply humanitarian aid to Gaza under all circumstances. And I think that, in the end, humanity will prevail."
Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.
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