Qa-15, 21 March 2017, Statement Of The Spokesperson Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Hüseyin Müftüoğlu, In Response To A Question On Tika’s Gaza Office Local Employee Who Was Arrested By Israeli Authorities

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 21.03.2017

Muhammed Mortaja, local staff of TİKA Office in Gaza was arrested on 12 February 2017 by the Israeli authorities at the Erez crossing when he arrived to travel to Turkey to participate in a professional seminar in line with the permit obtained from the Israeli authorities through the usual official process. No information was shared with Turkey prior to this incident by the Israeli authorities about Mortaja who has been employed by TİKA Office since 2012.


The situation of TİKA Gaza Office employee Mortaja and the procedures launched by the Israeli authorities are being closely followed. Complementary information has been asked from the relevant Israeli authorities.


It is a well-known fact by the public and the host countries that TİKA follows duly the principles of transparency and cooperation set by international standards in the projects it realizes around the world.


TİKA’s development assistance activities in Gaza are also being carried with this understanding under Palestinian authorities’ consent and within the knowledge of the Israeli government, and therefore any attempt affecting the security of the parties has never been tolerated or allowed.


The judicial process on Mortaja is underway. The basis of the claims made in the indictment reflected today in the press needs to be examined.


Meanwhile, all relevant legal support necessary for protecting Mortaja’s rights is being provided. It is a basic principle of law that one is considered innocent unless proven guilty through a fair trial.


On behalf of the Turkish people, TİKA will continue in the future as in the past, its projects with diligence and devotion in order to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian people, including in Gaza, which emanates from the 50-year long occupation.


Mehmet Vakur Erkul Ambassador
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