Turkey ‘seeks UN General Assembly vote’ on Jerusalem


Turkey ‘seeks UN General Assembly vote’ on Jerusalem

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 was leading the push because a draft resolution voted on by the UN Security Council yesterday is expected be vetoed by Washington, Turkish officials told Al Jazeera.

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

Following yesterday’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 oganisation 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 draft resolution drafted by Egypt “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, 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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”

“In this regard [the draft resolution] calls upon all states to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem,” it said.

Turkish foreign ministry sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said that as it was clear the draft resolution will be vetoed by the US at the UN Security Council, Turkey was concentrating efforts [against the US move] at the UN General Assembly.

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 to recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine last week. Taha Ozhan, a ruling party MP and chair of Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs commission, said that Ankara’s efforts against Trump’s move put pressure on the countries in the region to speak up on the issue.

“Turkey has triggered this and regional actors are reacting,” he said. “A possible vote in the General Assembly will remind us 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 the 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.

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, shouting slogans against the two countries. — Al Jazeera


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