Turkey slams US policy shift on illegal Israeli settlement
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Nov. 19 slammed the U.S. decision on illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
"No country is above international law. Fait accompli style declarations shall have no validity with respect to international law," Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Turkey's presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın also said he rejected the U.S. policy reversal. He said that such a move ignores the rights of Palestinians and international law.
Kalın accused the U.S. of playing with words and said the term “settlements” which the U.S. uses for Israel’s illegal acts was actually “occupation".
“It is literally an occupation and [the U.S. move] is literally an effort to legitimize this occupation,” he said.
The U.S. on Nov. 18 reversed course on its position regarding Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank, breaking with over four decades of precedent in saying that they will no longer be viewed as illegal "per se".
The move is highly likely to irk Palestinian officials, who have rejected a role for the U.S. in any prospective peace talks with Israel over the Trump administration's 2017 decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The U.S. under President Donald Trump has since gone on to close the Palestinians' diplomatic office in Washington and has relocated its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Roughly 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live on more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Palestinians want these territories along with the Gaza Strip for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.
International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.