Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday accused the UN Security Council of “standing idle” amid the “massacre” of Palestinians and vowed to protect Jerusalem “even if the whole world turns its back.”
“The massacres in Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, recently in Myanmar, and in Palestine as we speak have all taken place before the eyes of the United Nations Security Council,” Erdogan said in his speech to the UN General Assembly.
Though he didn’t explicitly name the United States, Erdogan decried recent aid cuts to the Palestinians by US President Donald Trump’s administration.
“Those who remain silent against the oppression of the Palestinians, who reduce the humanitarian assistance to them, are only increasing the courage of the oppressors,” Erdogan said.
“Even if the whole world turns its back, we, Turkey, will continue to be on the side of the oppressed Palestinians and will protect the historical and legal status of… Jerusalem,” he added.
Erdogan made similar remarks on Sunday, when he said he would defend Jerusalem from Israeli “invaders” and against those who carry out “state terror” against the Palestinians.
In a speech to the TURKEN foundation in New York, the Turkish leader also said he would continue his diplomatic battle with Israel and the US over the future of the Israeli capital, according to the Anadolu news agency.
Trump took the UN stage earlier Tuesday and talked up his decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there.
“The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Trump told the world body. “That aim is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts.”
Since he announced his Jerusalem decision last December, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been at a stalemate, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refusing to meet with administration officials, whom he claims abandoned their role as honest brokers and sided with Israel.
According to a Hebrew media report last week, Israel and Turkey are holding back-channel talks in a bid to restore the all-but-severed diplomatic relations between the two nations.
After violent protests on the Gaza border in May in which over 60 Palestinians, most of them members of Hamas and other terror groups, were killed, the Turkish leader placed the blame for the deaths squarely on Israel, calling it a “terrorist state” that commits “genocide.” Turkey recalled its ambassador and expelled Israel’s ambassador, Eitan Na’eh, and its consul in Istanbul.
Israel responded at the time by expelling Turkey’s consul-general in Jerusalem and summoning the country’s deputy ambassador in Tel Aviv for a dressing down.
Turkey has returned its economic attache to Israel in recent weeks.
According to AP figures, more than 130 Gazans have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of weekly clashes dubbed the “Great March of Return.” Hamas, an Islamist terror group that seized control of Gaza in 2007 and seeks to destroy Israel, has acknowledged that dozens of the Palestinian fatalities were its members.
Israel says its actions — and in particular the use of live ammunition — are necessary to defend the border and stop mass infiltrations from the territory, and accuses Hamas of encouraging the protests and using them as cover to attempt to carry out terror attacks.
During the ongoing demonstrations, protesters have also launched incendiary kites and balloons into Israel, sparking fires that have destroyed forests, burned crops and killed livestock. Over the last six months, more than 8,000 acres of land in southern Israel has been burned by fires sparked by the balloons, causing millions of shekels in damages.