Erdoğan voices support for Iran nuclear deal
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has voiced support for the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, despite the U.S. decision to withdraw from it.
"As Turkey, we do not accept re-igniting issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, that have been put to bed. We find the other signatories stating their loyalty to the agreement in the face of the U.S. administration's decision very positive," Erdoğan said at a fast-breaking iftar meal with ambassadors in the capital Ankara on May 21.
“The main threats against our country and region are nuclear weapons,” the president said.
“Those with at least 15,000 nuclear warheads are now threatening the world,” he added, calling for the whole world to be cleared of nuclear weapons and saying Turkey is of the opinion that nuclear energy should only be used for peaceful purposes.
The construction of Turkey’s first nuclear plant in the Akkuyu district on the Mediterranean coast was launched on April 3 with a ceremony joined by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is scheduled to be put into operation in 2023.
U.S. President Donald Trump on May 8 declared his decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran sealed in 2015. On top of that, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 21 vowed to “crush” Iran with military pressure and economic sanctions.
However, the leaders of Germany, France and the U.K. agreed to uphold the agreement with Iran after their meeting on the sidelines of an EU summit in Bulgaria on May 17.
On Trump’s decision to pull his country out of the deal, Erdoğan on May 9 said “the U.S. will be the one to lose.”
Israel not invited to iftar
Meanwhile, the Turkish Presidency stated that the ambassadors of all countries apart from Israel were invited to the iftar at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) headquarters.
Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Eitan Naeh left the country on May 16 at Turkey’s request following the recent killings of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers along the Gaza-Israel fence.
In his speech at the meal, Erdoğan also voiced Turkey’s resolve to “not give up on Jerusalem.”
“We are determined to not give up on our rights on Jerusalem. We will never leave our first qiblah [direction towards which Muslims pray] to the mercy of a state that has been feeding on blood, tears and occupation for decades,” he said.
“We will continue our fight until Jerusalem becomes a home of peace, tranquility and dignity for all three monotheistic religions,” he added.
Regarding the U.S. move to shift its embassy to Jerusalem, Erdoğan said the hands of the U.S. are “covered in the blood of Palestinian children.”
U.S. President Trump sparked international outcry last December when he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and vowed to relocate Washington’s embassy to the city.
On May 14, at least 65 Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire during protests in eastern Gaza. Thousands more were injured.
Speaking at the same meal in Ankara, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also pledged Turkey’s “continued support to people in need around the world.”“It is time to act jointly against global problems such as terrorism, hatred, injustice, migration, discrimination and hunger. Turkey has been advocating this for a long time,” Yıldırım said.
“The slaughter of defenseless, unarmed people is cruel and brutal violence. The decision of the American administration to move the embassy to Jerusalem is a big mistake and it has a great share in the escalation of tensions of these events [in Gaza],” he added.