President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described Israel as a “terror state,” while urging leaders of Arab countries to act following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Israel is a state of occupation and a terror state,” Erdoğan said in a speech in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas on Dec. 10, vowing that Turkey “will not leave Jerusalem to the consciousness of a child-killer state.”
“Jerusalem is the light of our eyes. We won’t leave it to the conscience of a state that only values occupation and looting. We will continue our struggle decisively within the law and democracy,” he added.
On Dec. 6, Trump announced the U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital, saying the U.S. Embassy would relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem policy.
While demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Turkey and other Muslim-majority countries have been ongoing since the recognition, Erdoğan has been one of the most vocal leaders to slam Washington’s move.
“Palestine is oppressed and a victim. Israel is absolutely a state of occupation. Israel has never recognized any decision adopted concerning it, especially United Nations decisions, and it will never do so,” Erdoğan said, also presenting a series of maps showing how Israel has expanded its borders by occupying Palestinian territories since 1947.
“Look at this scene, do you see this treachery?” he said, pointing to Israeli expansion.
Erdoğan also showed a picture of a 14-year-old blindfolded Palestinian boy surrounded by Israeli soldiers.
“Look at how these terrorists are dragging a 14-year-old blindfolded child,” he said, describing Trump’s statement on Jerusalem as “null and void” for Turkey.
“We will continue to stand with the oppressed. We will use every opportunity we have for our first qibla, Jerusalem. We’ve been carrying out intense phone diplomacy since the dire decision of the U.S. I’ve held phone calls with the heads of many governments and states, including the Pope. We’ve told them that this issue is not one that only concerns Muslims; it is also the seizure of the rights of Christians. But I must say clearly that this step of the U.S. is completely an Evangelist understanding,” he added.
An extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is scheduled to be held in Istanbul on Dec. 13, hosting the leaders of Muslim-majority countries.
“With the roadmap that we will determine [at the OIC meeting], we will show that the realization of this decision [moving of the embassy] will not be easy at all,” he added.
Earlier on, Erdoğan urged Arab leaders and Muslim countries to present a “united stance” on the issue.
“The Arab League will be present at the meeting on Dec. 13. Its term president, Jordanian King Abdullah II, thinks the same as us. Islamic countries must present a united stance on this issue,” he said.
“The dividedness and internal problems of the Islamic world have made it easier for the U.S. to adopt such a decision. What’s happening in Iraq and Syria are also out in the open. Libya, Egypt and Yemen are also experiencing serious problems. This Jerusalem step shows how some have been taking advantage of this situation. We need to be vigilant as Muslims,” Erdoğan added.