‘I felt ashamed,’ says top Turkish diplomat
Hande Fırat - ANKARA
Turkey’s top diplomat has said he felt ashamed of the scenes in which senior Israeli and United States officials were enjoying the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, while scores of Palestinian civilians, including children, were being killed by Israeli security forces on May 14.
“As a human being, I felt ashamed when I saw this scene. On the one hand, babies, children and women are being killed and on the other hand, there is music and fun … Plus, like a joke, they are talking about peace,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told daily Hürriyet in a phone interview on May 15.
Çavuşoğlu was in London accompanying President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s official talks with the British government.
The photo of top Israeli leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a large American delegation led by U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump was meant to fool the whole world, Çavuşoğlu stressed.
“This has tarnished the image and credibility of the U.S. Not every country can utter a word like we can. It’s either due to fear or some other reasons. But our discussions [with other leaders] since yesterday show that everyone is of the same opinion. This is shameful,” he said.
Turkey has called its ambassador to Tel Aviv and Washington D.C. for consultations but a review in ties with Israel may be necessary if the crackdown on Palestinians continues. “We will decide on next steps after consultations. We may review our diplomatic ties as well,” said Çavuşoğlu.
Turkey’s top diplomat stressed that bringing this issue to the international platforms is equally important recalling ongoing efforts for an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Istanbul on May 18.
The meeting in Istanbul will provide an opportunity for Turkey to call all Islamic countries to review their ties with Israel as suggested by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on May 15. Çavuşoğlu explained that some Islamic countries have shown hesitance in approving the declarations issued by the OIC on Jerusalem and there were some countries who have been represented at the opening ceremony of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
“As the term president, it’s our duty to call on all countries to follow the same line. We will evaluate all these during the OIC summit,” he said.
Meeting with Pompeo on June 4
Turkey has been the most vocal country in slamming the U.S. over the removal of its embassy to Jerusalem. In reaction to the move, Turkey called its ambassador to Washington Serdar Kılıç for consultations.
The move comes as Çavuşoğlu and Pompeo were scheduled to meet in Washington D.C. to discuss a number of bilateral disputes including Syria. The minister said this tension on Jerusalem will not affect his visit to the U.S., informing that his meeting with Pompeo would take place on June 4.
“We have received an invitation for June 4 and we have confirmed it,” Çavuşoğlu said, underlining that ongoing dialogue on Syria is a separate issue.
The two ministers will discuss an initial plan under the “Manbij model” that stipulates the control of the Syrian province by Turkey and the U.S. after the withdrawal of the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey has long been pressing on the U.S. to cease its cooperation with the YPG, a group it considers a terrorist organization.