A major conference on the Palestinian cause kicked off Saturday in the Turkish city of Istanbul.  
Themed: “The Question of Palestine: Examining History, Geo-politics, and Future Prospects”, the three-day conference draws a wide participation of academics, researchers, experts and students.  
Organized by the Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University’s Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), over 25 speakers from nearly 10 countries are expected to make speeches at the conference.  
In his opening speech, the university's Vice President Prof. Nasuh Uslu, said that despite the decades-long of displacement, suffering, detention, and destruction "the Palestinian cause still endures."  
"The Palestinians deserve their fundamental political and human rights,” he said. “They too deserve justice and statehood.”  
Uslu called on experts, academics and politicians from around the world to continue their effort to rally support and raise awareness about the Palestinian cause.  
Speakers at the event include Palestinian historian Salman Abu Sitta, John B. Quigley, a law professor at the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University, Ilan Pappe from UK-based University of Exeter and Chief Mandla Mandela, late South African leader Nelson Mandela's oldest grandson.  
Discussions are expected to tackle several aspects of the Palestinian issue, including Jerusalem, the right of return, Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank as well as the ordeal of the blockaded Gaza Strip.  
The conference will end on Monday with a session titled “Challenges and Responses: The Pro-Israeli Lobbies, Normalization, and Building a Transnational Solidarity Movement."

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