President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Dec. 17 said Turkey wants to open an embassy in East Jerusalem, following a decision by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.
“We have already declared East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state but we haven’t been able to open our embassy there because Jerusalem is currently under occupation. God willing we will open our embassy there,” Erdoğan said, speaking at a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) meeting in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman.
“[U.S. President Donald] Trump has declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with an evangelist and Zionist understanding, with the logic of ‘I have done it and it’s over.’ The U.S. is also moving its embassy there. Those who have taken this step, despite U.N. decisions, has moved with the logic of ‘We don’t recognize you.’ Well, we don’t recognize you either,” he added.
“Do not attempt to undertake a Zionist operation. If you do, the cost of this will be heavy,” he said.
“I [as the current OIC term president] summoned the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for an extraordinary meeting [on Dec. 13]. In a week, they [the country representatives] all came. I also telephoned the Pope [Francis] and saw that he is of the same opinion as us,” Erdoğan said, referring to the OIC summit in Istanbul earlier this week.
The 57-member OIC on Dec. 13 recognized East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and invited other countries to follow suit on Dec. 13, countering the U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel.
The 23-article Istanbul Declaration expressed full solidarity with Palestine and “rejected and condemned in the strongest terms the unilateral decision by the President of the United States America recognizing Al-Quds as the so-called capital of Israel.”
Speaking in Karaman, Erdoğan also touched on a photo of Israeli soldiers detaining a 14-year-old Palestinian boy with Down syndrome named Mohamed al-Taweel during protests in Hebron, the West Bank on Dec. 8.
“These are cowards to be scared of children syndrome. Hey America, hey Trump! Have you not seen this? You may say: ‘I’m the most powerful country in the world.’ But what is the world saying to the U.S.? It says: ‘You should not have weapons with nuclear warheads, but you do.’ Is this what is justice about? We’ll take matters into our own hands. There are now two paths in front of our country: We will either submit or we will struggle,” he said.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Dec. 17 also once again slammed Trump’s “miscalculation” in deciding to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli’s capital.
“Those who miscalculate on Jerusalem in this region will eventually regret it,” said Yıldırım, addressing the AKP’s provincial congress in the Central Anatolian province of Çankırı.
Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council is reportedly considering a draft resolution affirming that any change to the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be reversed.
Egypt circulated the draft text on Dec. 16 and diplomats said the council could vote on the proposed measure as early as Dec. 18.
The draft resolution obtained by AFP stresses that Jerusalem is an issue “to be resolved through negotiations” and expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,” without specifically mentioning Trump’s move.
“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,” it said.
Diplomats said they expected the United States to use its veto power to block the measure while most, if not all, of the 14 other council members were expected to back the draft resolution.