“Maritime boundary agreement with Türkiye would be very beneficial”

“Maritime boundary agreement with Türkiye would be very beneficial”

Dr. Basem Naim is among the most experienced politicians in Palestine. He served first as the Minister of Health and later as the Minister of Youth and Sports in Gaza. Currently, he is Head of Hamas’ International Relations Bureau, advocating for the voice of the people of Gaza and resistance groups. During his brief visit to our country, we met with Dr. Naim in Istanbul and conducted an interview in a candid atmosphere. Dr. Basem Naim highlighted that Israel has dropped 80,000 tons of bombs on Gaza since October 7, equivalent to 80 nuclear bombs, but despite this, Hamas and other resistance groups are staying strong. Dr. Naim also outlined specific requests from Türkiye and shared important messages regarding the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Gaza continues to resist”

Mr. Naim, first of all, welcome to our country. Before getting into the purpose of your visit, could you briefly inform us about the current situation in the Gaza Strip?

Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here. Currently, Gaza is sending two messages to the world. Firstly, despite all the attacks of the occupation regime, Gaza stands firm and continues to resist. Attempts to forcibly remove people from Gaza are thwarted, and the Gaza resistance inflicts heavy losses on occupying forces every day. On the other side of the coin, however, there are severe humanitarian crises.

Dr. Basem Naim during the interview with Tevfik Kadan

The resistance of the mujahideen

Dr. Naim, you mentioned, “Gaza stands firm and continues to resist.” So, how much of its strength before October 7 does Hamas currently maintain?

Hamas is a resistance movement for the liberation and freedom of Palestine. Hamas has accumulated significant strength both in terms of manpower and militarily over the years. This preparation was to remove the occupation regime and to ensure that Palestinian people’s fundamental rights. The success on October 7 is a result of extensive preparations over a long period. However, when compared to the immense Israel, which is described as the biggest force in the region we were well aware of that our force cannot be compared with that from the very first day. Such a force cannot be compared with a very modest resistance group with very modest and simple means. Yet, we are well aware of the historical examples of the centuries: Throughout history, the peoples under colonization and occupation have achieved success by struggling as long as they understand their rightfulness. We also believe in our rightfulness and support of our people. We were conscious of the heavy toll it would take, but we see from the examples of the resistance of countries such as Algeria, Vietnam and South Africa that the peoples pay a price to achieve success.

Furthermore, we knew that we will pay a heavy price in terms of humanitarian crisis. We are currently in a very relentless and very tough war. The occupation regime threw about 80 thousand tons of explosive materials on Gaza, equivalent to about 80 nuclear bombs. However, the resistance groups continue to make the occupiers pay a very heavy price every day. A relentless struggle still continues on the fronts. Undoubtedly, some of the mujahideen were martyred. In addition to civilians, we also have a serious number of military losses. At the same time, some headquarters and tunnels were found and hit. However, all these losses are not to the extent that will change the course of the war and stop the resistance of the mujahideen.

“Türkiye should assume more responsibility”

At this crucial point in the war, what is the reason for your presence in Türkiye? Could you tell us your concrete requests from Türkiye?

The Turkish people are our sisters and brothers, and Türkiye is an ally. Despite all political and ideological differences, I believe the Palestinian issue is a common cause for all Turkish people. Türkiye also holds a significant geopolitical position, connecting Asia and Europe, and serves as a central hub. Moreover, it possesses substantial military power and population. We are now asking the Turkish government, the parliament, media and the people to continue and even increase their support to halt the massacres of the occupying regime.

Additionally, there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We need to focus on that. We are under a severe embargo, preventing people from accessing medicine, food and fulfilling their basic needs. We anticipate efforts to address this issue. Furthermore, we want Türkiye to be more influential and take on a more active role. Specifically, we repeatedly emphasize our requests for the lifting of the embargo, enabling the entry of medicine and food into Gaza to put an end to this humanitarian crisis.

“We are requesting support in terms of military and weapons”

Wars are won with weapons, and your military supplies are dwindling. Türkiye has a well-developed defense industry. Do you have requests from Türkiye UAVs, drones, weapons, ammunition and equipment?

Firstly, I want to emphasize that wars are not won solely through military superiority. Throughout history, oppressed peoples have triumphed against occupiers many times. The human factor is crucial in this regard. Alongside us, all Islam and Arab countries should stand against the occupiers so that the aggression of Israel can be halted. We are justified in our resistance against the occupiers. The United Nations has numerous resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territories. In this sense, we have the right to resist, including military and armed resistance.

Within the framework of international decisions, we also have the right to seek military support from all parties claiming to love and support the Palestinian people. Certainly, we are requesting support in terms of military and weapons. However, we do not interfere in the internal affairs of states. Countries decide on the extent of their military or humanitarian aid. We are requesting all possible support for fulfilling moral responsibilities.

“Netanyahu wants to prolong the war”

So how close are we to a ceasefire agreement and how could it happen?

We have expressed from the very beginning that there should be a ceasefire. However, the Zionist regime, especially Netanyahu and his team, are in favor of prolonging the war to cover up their failures on October 7. Moreover, they want to spread the war to the entire region. Hamas has fulfilled all its duties to end the war, as acknowledged by mediators in Qatar and Egypt. Even officials in the US stated, “Hamas is currently positive about a ceasefire and taking positive steps.” As Hamas, we are doing everything to end the war. However, Israel wants the war continue and is undermining negotiation talks.

Several resolutions have been passed in the United Nations calling for the cessation of the war and similar decisions have been made in the US Congress. Additionally, people around the world have taken to the streets demanding an end to the war. It is evident that the entire world wants the war to stop, except for the Zionist regime and the US, which supports Israel in continuing its massacres. We believe that if there is not a strong external reaction and pressure along with the resistance in Gaza, Israel will continue its attacks. Our prediction is that they want to escalate the war to both the West Bank and Jerusalem, and also beyond Palestine. They are making statements saying that Muslims will not be allowed to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque during this year’s Ramadan. All these actions would only add fuel to the fire.

Maritime neighborhood

Palestine is one of the countries with a coastline on the Eastern Mediterranean, and according to international law, it shares mutual maritime borders with Türkiye. What are your thoughts on maritime jurisdiction areas with Türkiye and conducting joint drilling/seismic activities in the Eastern Mediterranean?

I find this idea very accurate and meaningful. Türkiye officially recognizes the State of Palestine and Gaza is part of Palestine. Gaza and Türkiye have mutual coastlines. Making and a maritime jurisdiction agreement in the Eastern Mediterranean and conducting joint gas and oil exploration activities would be very beneficial for both countries and people.

Humanitarian aid

Do you have a message to the Turkish people, Arab states, Islamic countries and the whole world?

Children in Gaza are dying from hunger, cold, lack of medicine or air strikes. Women, the elderly, and the entire population of Gaza are living on the brink of death. A humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, neither the parliaments nor the governments of Islam countries, Arab states or the rest of the world are taking action. We are not expecting Islam and Arab countries to mobilize their armies or get involved in the war. Our only request is the lifting of the blockade and delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. We are saddened by the incapacity of Islamic countries to achieve this. We urge more efforts for humanitarian aid.

Tevfik Kadan
Tevfik Kadan was born on April 27, 1990 in Isparta. He studied Turkish Naval High School and Academy. He took computer and electrical electronics engineering courses and worked as a Freelance Consultant Engineer for some time. Kadan has been working in the field of journalism since 2010, and served as the Head of Vatan Party Press Office for 2 years and as Aydınlık Newspaper’s News Manager for 2 years. He works as the Editor in Chief at Aydınlık.com.tr.

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May 2024