Turkey slams Trump's Golan Heights tweet

Turkey slams Trump's Golan Heights tweet

ISTANBUL
Turkey slams Trumps Golan Heights tweet

From EU to Turkey and beyond, President Donald Trump's abrupt declaration that Washington will recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights drew strong condemnation on March 22.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned Trump's pledge would risk a "new crisis.”

"Yesterday Trump's unfortunate statement about the Golan Heights brings the region to the edge of a new crisis," Erdogan told an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on March 22.

"We will never allow the occupation of Golan Heights to be made legitimate," he added.

Erdoğan said the OIC would not "remain silent to such a sensitive issue like this.”

Trump on March 21 said the United States should acknowledge Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, seized from Syria in 1967.

"After 52 years, it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights," Trump said in a tweet.

Trump's call was welcomed by his ally Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of April 9 elections in which the incumbent is facing a tough challenge.

But Damascus on March 22 said the pledge ignored international law.

The Foreign Ministry in Damascus said Trump's statement confirms "the blind bias of the United States to the Zionist entity," referring to Israel, and added that it won't change "the fact that the Golan was and will remain Arab and Syrian."

The ministry also said Damascus is now more intent on liberating the Golan, "using every possible means."

Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights in 1981. The U.N. Security Council resolution 497, issued after the annexation, refers to Israel as "the occupying power" and says Israel's attempt to "impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said Trump's "personal and arbitrary decisions" plunge the region into a new crisis, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Trump's comments "can destabilize the already fragile situation in the Middle East."

"The very idea is not helping the goals of the Middle East settlement, quite the other way round," he said. "Right now, it's merely a declaration. Let's hope it will stay this way."

The European Union underlined it does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

"The position of the EU has not changed," an EU spokeswoman told Reuters. "The European Union, in line with international law, does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including the Golan Heights and does not consider them to be part of Israel's territory."

"If national borders should be changed it must be done through peaceful means between all those involved," German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

"The Golan is a territory occupied by Israel since 1967. France does not recognize the Israeli annexation of 1981," the French Foreign Ministry said in a daily briefing.

And U.N. Human Rights Council resolution condemned “human rights violations, widespread destruction, death and human suffering in the occupied Palestinian territory.”        

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