Turkey ‘to seek UN General Assembly vote’ on Jerusalem

Ankara shifts focus because US likely to veto Security Council resolution rejecting diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

Thousands gather to protest US Jerusalem move in Ankara
Thousands gather to protest the US Jerusalem move in Ankara [Anadolu]

Turkey is concentrating efforts on passing a resolution at the UN General Assembly against the US decision to recognise occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Ankara is leading the push in the General Assembly because Washington is expected to veto a draft resolution to be voted on by the UN Security Council on MondayTurkish officials told Al Jazeera.

The United States is one of the five veto-holding permanent members of the top UN body with 15 members.

Following Monday’s Security Council session, Turkey, Palestine and other parties are expected to try to push the issue to the UN General Assembly, where all 193 members of the international organisation are represented.


President Donald Trump on December 6 announced the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, deviating from decades-old policy and the international consensus that the city’s status should be resolved through peace talks.

The UN Security Council resolution drafted by Egypt, and seen by Al Jazeera, “calls upon all states to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem”.

Decisions and actions which alter the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem “have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council”, the draft reads.

‘Uniting for Peace’

Turkish foreign ministry sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told Al Jazeera that as it was clear the draft resolution will be vetoed by the US at the UN Security Council, Turkey was shifting focus.

The issue is expected to be taken to the UN General Assembly under Resolution 377A, known as the “Uniting for Peace” resolution, Turkish sources said.


The 1950 Resolution 377A says if the Security Council fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately.

“The resolution can be passed by getting at least two-thirds of the votes of the members of the UN General Assembly. We already have this number, but Turkey, as well as the other OIC members, are working hard to increase it,” the foreign ministry sources said. 

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) founded in 1969, bills itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world”.

Turkey has been highly vocal in criticising the US administration over its Jerusalem decision, leading calls at last week’s 57-member OIC summit in Istanbul last week to recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

‘Likely to look like 2012 vote’

Taha Ozhan, a ruling party MP and chair of the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs commission, told Al Jazeera that Ankara’s efforts against Trump’s move put pressure on regional countries to speak up.

“Turkey has triggered this, and regional actors are reacting,” he said.

“A possible vote in the General Assembly will remind us of the scenes we saw a few years ago in the vote there for Palestine to be a non-member observer state, in which only the US, Israel and few more countries voted against the move, dominated by the rest of the members.”

In the 2012 vote at the General Assembly, Palestine was given non-member observer status with 138 votes cast for the resolution and nine votes against it. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Ankara intended to open an embassy for Palestine in East Jerusalem.

“Given that Jerusalem is under occupation, we cannot just go and open an embassy there. However, our consulate general in Jerusalem is already represented by an ambassador … The day is close when officially, with God’s permission, we will open our embassy there,” he said, in an address in the southern province of Karaman.

Palestinians view East Jerusalem, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967, as the capital of their future state while Israelis see the city as a whole as their capital.

Thousands of Turkish protesters marched in various parts of the country through the weekend, carrying anti-US and anti-Israel signs and shouting slogans against the two countries.

Follow Umut Uras on Twitter: @Um_Uras

Source: Al Jazeera