Turkey, Politics

Turkish premier criticizes Trump's threat to UN members

US leader threatened to cut aid to countries that vote in favor of UN resolution denouncing his decision on Jerusalem

21.12.2017
Turkish premier criticizes Trump's threat to UN members Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim delivers a speech as he attends the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) alumni summit at Ankara Hotel in Ankara, Turkey on December 21, 2017. ( Ali Balıkçı - Anadolu Agency )

By Merve Aydogan

ANKARA

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Thursday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to cut aid to countries that vote in favor of a UN resolution denouncing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Yildirim said: "America, at the UN Security Council, was left alone beside the 14 members of Security Council and as a last resort came to a point where it threatens those who voted against America."

In a speech made at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) alumni summit, Yildirim also called on Trump to show common sense, saying all nations enjoyed their own "sovereignty" and had the "right to make their own choices".

"Being powerful does not mean you are right," he stressed.

Less than two weeks after Washington moved to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and begin the process to move its embassy from Tel Aviv -- the city where all other nations house their main diplomatic facilities in Israel -- the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that rejected the establishment of diplomatic facilities in the contested city of Jerusalem.

"They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump said Wednesday at the White House. "This isn't like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they're doing."

All 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the Egyptian-sponsored resolution before it was nixed by the U.S. veto. The Council episode could signal a lopsided general assembly vote should member states choose to ignore Trump's warning.

The full 193-member UN General Assembly will meet for a rare emergency special session regarding Trump's decision. Unlike at the Security Council, the U.S. has no veto power in the assembly.


Rohingya crisis, "an affront to humanity"

Regarding his recent visit to Bangladesh and to Rohingya camps, Yildirim described their situation as "an affront to humanity".

He said the refugees at the Cox's Bazar, where thousands of Rohingya fleeing state persecution in Myanmar have taken shelter, are "deprived of everything".

"We hope that this affront to humanity ends [soon]," he added.

Citing the deal signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Yildirim said the implementation of the deal "depends" on the UN embracing it.

"There are 65 million refugees all over the world," Yildirim said and stated that it is a global matter which cannot be resolved by "building higher walls".

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