UN has ‘collapsed’ in the face of Gaza killings: Erdoğan
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
“The U.N. is finished, ended, collapsed. At this moment I cannot reach the U.N. secretary general despite having a good friendship [with him],” Erdoğan said at a fast-breaking dinner in Ankara.
“We will never allow Jerusalem to be usurped by Israel. We will support the struggle of our brothers until the days when Palestinian lands - which have long been occupied - will have peace and security within the borders of a free Palestinian state,” he added.
“We will not remain silent to Israel even though the world closes its eyes to this oppression,” Erdoğan said.
Earlier, he announced a mass rally to be held on Friday (May 18) in Istanbul’s Yenikapı Square to show solidarity with the Palestinians.
Turkey, as term president of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), called for an emergency OIC summit, also on May 18, in Istanbul to discuss joint action against Israel.
Erdoğan reportedly urged OIC member states to take a “common stance” on the Gaza killings in phone calls with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
He stated that the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had “made a mockery of” the Israeli government, vowing to continue supporting the Palestinians “not only with our heart but also by every means available.”
On May 14, at least 62 Palestinian demonstrators were killed and hundreds more injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the border.
Top diplomats talk
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also continued phone talks with counterparts on Israel-Palestine issue.
Çavuşoğlu’s talks included Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah, Brunei Foreign and Second Trade Minister Lim Jock Seng, Malian Foreign and International Cooperation Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, Libyan Government of National Accord Foreign Minister Taha Siala, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldayev, Mauritanian Foreign Minister Isselkou Ould Ahmed Izid Bih, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and Chadian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zayn Sherif.
More than 4,400 militants ‘neutralized’
A total of 4,456 militants have been “neutralized” in northwestern Syria since the Turkish military launched “Operation Olive Branch” in northwestern Syria, Erdoğan said on May 16.
The authorities often use the word “neutralized” to imply that the targets in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
The Turkish army launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 along with elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from the northwestern Syrian district of Afrin.
Erdoğan also said Turkish forces had recently neutralized 403 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq and 345 across Turkey.
Separately, the Turkish military announced on May 17 that four PKK militants were “neutralized” by an airstrike in the Yüksekova district of the southeastern province of Hakkari.