Turkey is launching an initiative at the United Nations to annul a decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
Erdogan was speaking two days after a Muslim leaders meeting in Istanbul condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision, calling on the world to respond by recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.
“We will work for the annulment of this unjust decision firstly at the UN Security Council, and if a veto comes from there, the General Assembly,” Erdogan told crowds gathered in the central Anatolian city of Konya via teleconference.
The decision by US President Donald Trump to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel is a “bomb” thrown at the entire Middle East, Erdogan said. Erdogan, who has sought to steer often disunited Muslim nations into a coordinated response on the issue, said Muslims would never accept the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The US step is a “new bomb thrown into the lap of the Middle East,” Erdogan said in an address marking the opening of a new metro line in Istanbul. Reaffirming his past accusations that Israel is a “terror state” because of its treatment of the Palestinians, Erdogan added: “Trying to make Jerusalem capital of a terror state is not a situation that can be accepted by Muslims.”
The United States is a permanent Security Council member with veto powers, meaning any move to overturn Washington’s decision at the council would certainly be blocked.
Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.
Trump’s decision broke with decades of U.S. policy and international consensus that the city’s status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian talks, leading to harsh criticisms from Muslim countries and Israel’s closest European allies, who have also rejected the move.—Reuters