Erdogan: Turkey to not give up on Jerusalem

We will continue our fight until Jerusalem becomes home of peace, tranquility and dignity, Turkish president says

Erdogan: Turkey to not give up on Jerusalem

By Meryem Goktas


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday expressed 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 which feeds on blood, tears and occupation for decades," Erdogan said during an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner with ambassadors in capital Ankara.

"We will continue our fight until Jerusalem becomes home of peace, tranquility and dignity for all three monotheistic religions,” he said.

About the U.S. move to shift its embassy to Jerusalem, the president said the hands of the U.S. are “covered with the blood of Palestinian children”.

U.S. President Donald Trump sparked an international outcry last December when he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and vowed to relocate Washington’s embassy to the city.

The embassy was officially relocated last Monday, prompting thousands of Palestinians to stage demonstrations near the security fence separating Gaza from Israel.

Scores of Palestinians were martyred -- and hundreds more injured -- when Israeli troops responded to the demonstrations with heavy gunfire.

“The American administration has no longer the right to talk on human rights, democracy and peace anymore,” he added.

Referring to current regional tensions, Erdogan pointed out diplomacy as a means of solving crises has been eroding.

Nuclear weapons

About nuclear energy, Erdogan said Turkey is of the opinion that nuclear energy should be used for peaceful purposes.

"Main threats against our country and region are nuclear weapons," he said.

He called for clearing the whole world of nuclear weapons.

"Those with at least 15,000 nuclear warheads now threaten the world," he added.

Speaking at the same event, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim vowed 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," he said.

On Israel’s attacks on Gaza, Yildirim said "the slaughter of the 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.

Addressing ambassadors of different countries, Yildirim said it is time to take a stand over the current situation in the region.

Israel not invited

In a statement, the presidency said ambassadors of all countries, except Israel, were invited to the iftar at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s headquarters.

Israeli Ambassador in Ankara Eitan Naeh left Turkey on Wednesday at the country’s request following indiscriminate violence and killings of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers along the Gaza-Israel fence.

Last Monday, at least 65 Palestinians were martyred by Israeli gunfire during protests in eastern Gaza. Thousands more were injured.

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