Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Israel’s “oppression” of Palestinians and “violations” in Jerusalem during his Tuesday address to the United Nations General Assembly calling for the resumption of peace talks.
Erdogan, a frequent critic of Israel, emphasized “the necessity of reviving the peace process and looking forward to a two-state solution again as soon as possible without further delay.”
He said that peace and stability in the Middle East are impossible as long as Israel’s “oppression against our Palestinian brothers” continues.
“The policies of occupation, annexation of land and illegal settlement must be ended as soon as possible,” he said.
Erdogan condemned Israeli “violations of the international status of Jerusalem” and the sanctity of the Temple Mount, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site. The Temple Mount compound is also considered the holiest place in Judaism, as it is the site where the first and second Jewish Temples once stood.
Turkey, once a strong Muslim ally of Israel, has become a geopolitical foe under Erdogan. The Turkish leader has often engaged in diatribes against Israel, including during his General Assembly speech last year in which he accused the Jewish state of extending its “dirty hand” over Jerusalem. That speech prompted a walkout from Israel’s UN envoy Gilad Erdan, who condemned the address as “antisemitic.”
Still, Ankara has continued to maintain open ties with the Jewish state, including on tourism and trade. Erdogan said last December that he wished to improve relations with Israel.
In his speech on Tuesday, Erdogan also announced that Turkey was ready to finally ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Erdogan’s announcement followed a year of violent weather events in Turkey — including wildfires and flash floods — that have claimed some 100 lives.
In April 2016, Turkey signed the landmark agreement on limiting the dangerous emissions that contribute to global warming, which scientists blame for increasingly extreme and more frequent weather events.
But it has yet to formally ratify the accord by a vote in parliament.
Erdogan told the UN General Assembly that Turkey now intends to complete the ratification process in time for the November UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
“I would like to announce to the whole world here from the United Nations General Assembly the decision we have taken following the progress made within the framework of the agreement. We plan to submit the Paris Climate Agreement for approval to our parliament next month,” Erdogan said.
“Before the United Nations climate change conference, which will be held in Glasgow, we envisage the ratification phase of the carbon-neutral targeted agreement.”