Turkey ‘will never accept’ Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: Erdoğan
LONDON – Anadolu Agency
Turkey will never accept the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 15.
“We will never accept the U.S. attempt to move its embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital,” Erdoğan said in a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May following a meeting in London.
Erdoğan said the U.S. government’s “indifferent policies” encouraged Israel more on occupation and violence in Palestine.
“Israel took these steps with the logic of ‘I am might, therefore I am right,’” the president said, adding “Israel is the occupier there and it continues terrorizing [Palestinians].”
He called on the international community and the U.N. “to act without wasting time and stop this oppression” in Palestine.
Reminding the U.N. General Assembly vote on the U.S. decision of recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, Erdoğan said 128 countries rejected the U.S. move.
“History will not forgive you [U.S.], we will see this reality; history will never forgive Israel, we will see this too,” Erdoğan added.
May, for her part, called for an “independent and transparent investigation” to find out what happened in Gaza on May 15.
“The loss of life we have seen is tragic and extremely concerning. Such violence is destructive to peace efforts and we call on all sides to show restraint,” she said.
May said they would not question Israel’s right to defend its borders, but “the use of live fire and resulting loss of life is deeply troubling.”
“It is in everyone’s interest for peace and stability to prevail in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories,” May added.
At least 62 Palestinians were killed and thousands more injured by Israeli forces along the Gaza border on May 14 amid protests marking the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, “Catastrophe” — the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians — and the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Erdoğan reiterated his appreciation for the solidarity extended by the U.K. over the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.
His meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and May focused on bilateral ties in detail, the Turkish president said on the final day of his three-day visit to the U.K.
“The trade and investment working group we formed during the prime minister’s visit to Turkey in January 2017 is functioning well. We are also glad that a transition period between the U.K. and the EU is agreed in terms of Brexit,” he said.
Erdoğan said the U.K. is the second biggest export market for Turkey, adding that the trade volume between Turkey and the U.K. was at a level of $16 billion in 2017 but “our target for bilateral trade is $20 billion.”
The Turkish president said he handed over “a list of terrorists” to the British prime minister. He stressed that Turkey killed 3,000 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Jarablus.
Responding to a question, Erdoğan underlined that Turkey deported more than 6,000 foreign fighters and said some are being tried in Turkey.
Since her visit to Ankara in January last year, May said: “Both Turkey and the U.K. have suffered grievous attacks by terrorists.”
“Since ISIL is militarily defeated, we are aware of the risk of foreign fighters dispersing from Syria and Iraq. To counter this, we have today agreed concrete steps towards measures that would formalize our information sharing,” she said.
Turkey and the U.K. also agreed for the need of a political settlement to end the war in Syria, May added.
She said the two countries “reiterated condemnation” over the “terrible chemical attacks in Douma and Salisbury.”
May said the British Home Office and the Turkish Interior Ministry will be committed to information sharing between their agencies.
The British prime minister also commended Turkey’s “extraordinary generosity” in hosting more than three and a half million Syrian refugees and educating more than 600,000 Syrian children.
“We recognize the enormous effort that the Turkish authorities are making to give those refugees the help they need,” she said.
“In total the U.K. has committed more than750 million pounds both bilaterally and through the EU budget to the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, in order to support those efforts,” she added.
Erdoğan also held a meeting with members of the Neturei Karta Orthodox Jewish Congregation before leaving for Turkey.