Protecting Jerusalem is a red line for Turkey, and Ankara will never leave the holy city to the mercy of the occupying Israeli government, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a speech to the Pakistani parliament on Friday, the Ahval news website reported.
“We gave and will continue to give the strongest response to the occupation, annexation and destruction plan announced by the US government a few weeks ago labelled the deal of the century,” Erdoğan said, referring to a plan for the Middle East announced by US President Donald Trump last month.
Trump’s plan envisions an independent Palestinian state under near-complete Israeli security control. It allows Israel to immediately annex virtually all its settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are viewed as illegal by the Palestinians and most of the international community.
If Trump’s plan were implemented, Jerusalem would remain Israel’s undivided capital, but a future Palestinian state would also have a capital in eastern Jerusalem.
Palestinians reject any peace settlement that would not see a Palestinian capital in all of East Jerusalem, which includes the walled Old City and numerous sites holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Erdoğan has repeatedly said that Turkey will never recognize the so-called deal of the century and has criticized other Muslim countries for not defending Palestinian rights.