Turkish leader labels Israel a ‘terrorist state’ after US recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
A strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, Erdogan hosted an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday in Istanbul, under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Before the OIC Jerusalem summit, Erdogan had threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel, “if necessary”. He had also said that the summit would be a “turning point”.
At the summit however, Erdogan did not expand on his earlier threat, and instead reaffirmed the illegality of the US decision: “It is null and void … no country in the world has supported [it]”.
The statements have not impressed Israel.
“Unfortunately, Erdogan does not miss an opportunity to attack Israel,” Naftali Bennett, Israel’s education minister.
Here is a round-up of what Turkey’s president has been saying about Jerusalem in recent days, and a look at his country’s ties with Israel.
In a speech on Monday in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, Erdogan said Trump’s decision had made Washington complicit in the violence.
“The ones who made Jerusalem a dungeon for Muslims and members of other religions will never be able to clean the blood from their hands,” said Erdogan.
“With their decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has become a partner in this bloodshed,” he added, noting that he did not consider Trump’s decision binding.
Turkey, however, is an ally of the US. It joined NATO in 1952.
The ones who made Jerusalem a dungeon for Muslims and members of other religions will never be able to clean the blood from their hands.
“Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is null and void for us in any case,” he added, noting that the US declaration was an attempt to “damage peace and security in the region”.
Ahead of Trump’s announcement, Erdogan said he could go as far as breaking off diplomatic ties with Israel if Washington formally recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, calling such a move a “red line” for Muslims.
“I am saddened by the reports that the US is getting ready to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” he said on Tuesday.
“This can go as far as severing Turkey’s ties with Israel. I am warning the United States not to take such a step which will deepen the problems in the region.”
Ties restored in 2016. Israel and Turkey announced in June 2016 they would normalise ties after a years-long rupture.
Pipeline deal in 2017. Israel and Turkey agreed to build an underwater pipeline connecting Israel’s massive offshore gas field Leviathan to Turkey, Reuters news agency reported in March.
This could be built within four years, according to one of the partners in the project.
Turkey was the only country from the Middle East to provide such help to Israel. Greece, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus and Russia also offered to assist extinguishing the blazes.