Turkey calls for sol­i­dar­ity with Pales­tine against Is­rael’s naked ag­gres­sion

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity needs to take a uni­fied stance against Is­rael’s ‘un­law­ful acts’ to­ward Pales­tine, Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan said dur­ing his U.K. visit, as the OIC will con­vene to­mor­row in an emer­gency sum­mit for Pales­tini­ans

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

PRES­I­DENT Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan said yes­ter­day that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should stand in unity against Is­rael’s ag­gres­sion to­ward Pales­tini­ans and that a com­mon at­ti­tude should be dis­played. An im­por­tant step for the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity would be to “dis­play a joint at­ti­tude against Is­rael’s un­law­ful and unfair acts,” Er­doğan told re­porters ac­com­pa­ny­ing him dur­ing his of­fi­cial visit to the U.K. in Lon­don. “It is dif­fi­cult, how- ever, to say that a deter­mined po­si­tion has been taken by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, and even the Arab League or the Mus­lim world,” he added. Er­doğan said that it is rare to see a strong re­ac­tion against Is­rael’s treat­ment of Pales­tini­ans, aside from Turkey, Iran and Rus­sia. His re­marks came amid Is­rael’s dis­pro­por­tion­ate re­sponse to Pales­tini­ans protest­ing the U.S. Em­bassy in Is­rael’s move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Dur­ing the demon­stra­tions in the Gaza Strip, which be­gan on Mon­day, Is­raeli forc- es killed 62 Pales­tini­ans and in­jured more than 2,000 oth­ers. The U.S. Em­bassy in Jerusalem was opened in a cer­e­mony on Mon­day, a day be­fore the day of the 70th an­niver­sary of Nakba, or “catas­tro­phe,” a term used by Pales­tini­ans to de­scribe Is­rael’s oc­cu­pa­tion of the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries fol­low­ing Is­rael’s dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence on May 14, 1948, which led to the force­ful dis­place­ment of nearly a mil­lion Pales­tini­ans from the lands they had called home for centuries.

THE DE­CI­SION to re­lo­cate the U.S. Em­bassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was made by the U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Dec. 6.

“We could not re­main silent on this shame­ful scene,” the pres­i­dent said, adding that Turkey has taken a se­ries of steps to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion. “We have de­clared three days of national mourn­ing. Par­lia­ment was called to con­vene for a spe­cial ple­nary ses­sion. The Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion (OIC) was called to con­vene on Fri­day in an emer­gency sum­mit [in Is­tan­bul].”

He added that two mass ral­lies will be held to protest Is­rael, one in Is­tan­bul and one in Di­yarbakır.

“We have sent the Is­raeli am­bas­sador to his coun­try and in the mean­time re­called our Wash­ing­ton am­bas­sador for con­sul­ta­tions. We will con­tinue to take diplo­matic steps on these is­sues,” Er­doğan said.

The Is­raeli For­eign Min­istry asked for Turkey’s Jerusalem con­sul-gen­eral to leave the coun­try on Tues­day, while sum­mon­ing Turkey’s am­bas­sador to Is­rael to com­plain that Is­raeli am­bas­sador was “re­quested by se­cu­rity per­son­nel” to take of his shoes at the air­port be­fore his de­par­ture. Turkey asked Is­raeli Am­bas­sador to Ankara Ei­tan Naeh to leave the coun­try for some time on Tues­day. Ei­tan left the coun­try yes­ter­day. Turkey also asked yes­ter­day for Is­raeli Con­sul Gen­eral Yosef Levi Sfari to leave the coun­try for the time be­ing.

Er­doğan said that Turkey is fol­low­ing the de­vel­op­ments at the U.N. through Ankara’s per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the U.N. in New York.

He added that Kuwait, which is cur­rently a tem­po­rary mem­ber of the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, is also tak­ing steps within the U.N. The pres­i­dent said that an eval­u­a­tion will also be made af­ter the Arab League’s meet­ing.

“The is­sue may be car­ried to the U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly like last time,” he added.

Fol­low­ing Trump’s de­ci­sion in De­cem­ber, Turkey took lead­er­ship in car­ry­ing the is­sue to the U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly af­ter a draft res­o­lu­tion on the is­sue was ve­toed 14-1 by the U.S. in the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.

The U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly passed the draft res­o­lu­tion with 128 coun­tries in fa­vor, nine against and 35 ab­sten­tions on Dec. 21, 2017, ask­ing the U.S. to with­draw its de­ci­sion to rec­og­nize Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal.

The pres­i­dent said that they have taken steps to bring some of the wounded to Turkey for treat­ment, how­ever, there has been ob­sta­cles cre­ated by Is­raeli and Egyp­tian au­thor­i­ties.

A hu­man­i­tar­ian aid cam­paign will also be launched in Turkey through­out the month of Ra­madan, which be­gan yes­ter­day, Er­doğan added.

The Jerusalem de­ci­sion prompted op­po­si­tion from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, as the pre­vi­ously agreed in­ter­na­tional stance was that the sta­tus of the city should be ne­go­ti­ated be­tween the Is­raelis and the Pales­tini­ans and that a uni­lat­eral de­ci­sion on the is­sue would harm the re­li­gious sen­si­tiv­ity ac­corded to the city by all Mus­lims, Chris­tians and Jews.

Er­doğan has also con­ducted phone diplo­macy on the is­sue with sev­eral re­gional lead­ers, in­clud­ing Pales­tinian leader Mah­moud Ab­bas, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad al-Thani, Jor­dan’s King Ab­dul­lah II, Su­danese Pres­i­dent Omar al-Bashir, In­done­sian Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo and Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Ma­hathir Mo­hamad.

On Tues­day night, Er­doğan also spoke with Saudi King Sal­man over the phone and dis­cussed Is­raeli vi­o­lence in Gaza and this Fri­day’s OIC sum­mit. Er­doğan also ex­changed views over the phone with the Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, Pope Fran­cis, and his Ira­nian coun­ter­part Has­san Rouhani on the re­cent de­vel­op­ments.

The pres­i­dent re­it­er­ated that “Jerusalem is a red line” for Turkey and it’s not pos­si­ble to give up stand­ing by the Pales­tini­ans.

“Stand­ing by the Pales­tinian cause both­ers them [Is­raelis]. In this frame­work, I don’t see Ha­mas as a ter­ror­ist group. Ha­mas is one of the re­sis­tance move­ments to res­cue the oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian lands,” he said.


Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion high­light­ing the dis­agree­ments be­tween Ankara and Wash­ing­ton, Er­doğan com­mented on re­la­tions with the U.S., say­ing that Turkey stands by what it thinks to be right.

“This is why we did not find U.S.’s uni­lat­eral with­drawal from the nu­clear deal with Iran to be right. The U.S. did not sign the agree­ment alone,” Er­doğan said, adding that other par­ties are also in­volved in the deal on Iran’s nu­clear activities.

He added that im­pos­ing sanc­tions on Iran would not be an ef­fec­tive way for­ward and that diplo­macy should be used to solve the sit­u­a­tion.

Er­doğan also said Turkey, as a NATO ally, has found no fault in pur­chas­ing S-400 mis­sile de­fense sys­tems from Rus­sia for its de­fense needs. “We also have a High-Level Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil with Rus­sia. We can­not stop buy­ing oil, nat­u­ral gas. There are five mil­lion Rus­sian tourists com­ing to our coun­try,” Er­doğan said, re­spond­ing to some U.S. of­fi­cials crit­i­ciz­ing the de­fense deal be­tween Ankara and Moscow.

“It is Turkey’s right to meet its de­fense needs from dif­fer­ent sources,” Er­doğan said, also adding that Ankara’s NATO al­lies have not sup­ported Turkey on de­fense-re­lated is­sues.

“Our most ba­sic ex­pec­ta­tion from the U.S. is for them to act in ac­cor­dance with the spirit of al­liance and strate­gic part­ner­ship,” he added.


Er­doğan re­jected the claims that there is dis­cord within the Peo­ple’s Al­liance, formed by his Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AK Party) and the Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party (MHP), say­ing that there are at­tempts to dam­age the spirit of unity, but it will not be al­lowed.

“We got on the road as the Peo­ple’s Al­liance. We will not al­low any­one to put dis­cord be­tween us,” Er­doğan said.

Turkey will go to polls for snap par­lia­men­tary and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions on June 24.

Er­doğan is the can­di­date of the Peo­ple’s Al­liance against ri­val can­di­dates.

The pres­i­dent said there are at­tempts ex­erted to en­sure Er­doğan gets votes in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, but that his party is not sup­ported.

Er­doğan said the AK Party base will vote for Er­doğan as the can­di­date of the al­liance, but will vote for the AK Party for the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

In the June 24 elec­tions, vot­ers can support a can­di­date but they can choose to support another party, as well.

He said AK Party vot­ers will vote for their party and the MHP vot­ers will vote for theirs.

Tear gas fumes rise amid Pales­tinian pro­test­ers dur­ing clashes along the Pales­tine-Is­rael bor­der on May 15.

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan speaks to mem­bers of the Turk­ish press in Lon­don late on Tues­day.

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