Turkey, World, Middle East

US’ Mideast plan threatens regional peace: Erdogan

US’ so-called peace plan is nothing but a dream that threatens regional peace, says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Gözde Bayar   | 15.02.2020
US’ Mideast plan threatens regional peace: Erdogan

ANKARA 

The U.S.’ Middle East plan threatens the regional peace and tranquility, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

"I would like to state once again that this so-called peace plan is nothing but a dream that threatens the regional peace and tranquility,” Erdogan told reporters upon his return to Turkey after his Pakistan visit.

Erdogan stressed that Turkey will never allow “legitimization of invasion, annexation and destruction”. 

Noting that neither the West nor Europe or Africa accept the so-called peace plan, he said Turkey will get favorable result at the UN.

He also called on the Islamic countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take clear stance against the plan.

On Jan. 28, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled the controversial “Deal of the Century,” to end one of the longest-running disputes in the Middle East.

Trump proposed an independent Palestinian state but with the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided capital".

The so-called peace plan unilaterally annuls previous UN resolutions on the Palestinian issue and suggests giving Israel almost everything it demanded.

Turkey has slammed the so-called “peace” plan as an effort to "justify Israeli occupation and annexation of Jerusalem and the West Bank."

The EU doesn’t recognize Israel’s sovereignty over territories it has occupied since 1967.

EU foreign affairs ministers will discuss the topic at meeting in Brussels next Monday. U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo was invited to join the debate. 

Recent developments in Syria 

Speaking about U.S.’s special envoy for Syria James Jeffery’s comments that described Turkish soldiers as “martyrs,” Erdogan said it was “not convincing for us.”

On Tuesday, Jeffrey arrived in Turkey to meet Turkish officials and re-evaluate the recent developments in the region.

On Monday, five Turkish troops were martyred and five injured in an attack by Assad regime forces in Idlib, following a similar attack last week martyring seven soldiers and a civilian contractor working with the Turkish military. 

Turkey has since retaliated for both attacks, hitting scores of targets and neutralizing over 200 Assad regime troops.

The Turkish troops are in Idlib -- nominally a cease-fire zone, under a deal between Turkey and Russia -- as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.

Regarding recent developments in Syria, Erdogan said it is impossible to remain silent against the Assad regime’s besieging of Turkey’s observation posts in Idlib, adding: “We are doing what is necessary.”

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.

More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the past year. 

Turkey remains the country with the most refugees in the world, hosting more than 3.7 million migrants since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. 

Libya

Erdogan also spoke about the situation in Libya and reiterated Turkey’s support for Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Turkey will continue doing what is necessary in line with the training and security deals signed with Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, the president said.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution Wednesday mandating a multinational operation to oversee a lasting cease-fire in Libya.

The resolution calls for an immediate cease-fire, an end to the supply of arms to both sides, adherence to a weapons embargo and the withdrawal of mercenaries and forbids interference by any member states in the crisis in Libya.

Some 14 countries supported the decision, but Russia abstained due to the statement on the withdrawal of mercenaries.

The decision also calls on all countries and international actors that attended the Berlin Conference on Libya on Jan. 19 to fulfill their commitments.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Haftar in eastern Libya, supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the GNA in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Libya’s legitimate government has been under attack by Haftar since last April, with more than 1,000 lives lost in the violence.

On Jan. 12, the warring parties announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by Turkey and Russia. However, talks for a permanent cease-fire ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow on Jan. 14 without signing the deal. 


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