Erdogan says Trump’s Mideast peace plan ‘absolutely unacceptable’
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Erdogan says Trump’s Mideast peace plan ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Turkish leader warns that in granting Jewish state the right to Jerusalem, proposal ‘ignores’ Palestinian rights and is ‘legitimizing Israel’s occupation’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference after his talks with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in Algiers, January 26, 2020. (Fateh Guidoum/AP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference after his talks with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in Algiers, January 26, 2020. (Fateh Guidoum/AP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lambasted a Middle East plan unveiled by US counterpart Donald Trump as “absolutely unacceptable” in comments published Wednesday.

“Jerusalem is sacred for Muslims. The plan to give Jerusalem to Israel is absolutely unacceptable. This plan ignores Palestinians’ rights and is aimed at legitimizing Israel’s occupation,” Erdogan said, quoted by CNN Turk broadcaster.

“The plan outlined will not serve peace or bring about a solution,” he added.

Trump revealed Tuesday the long-awaited plan aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying Jerusalem would remain Israel’s “undivided capital.”

As part of the plan, future Palestinian statehood would be based on a series of strict conditions — including requiring the future state to be demilitarized.

The plan also lets Israel annex West Bank settlements and would also end hopes for a so-called “right of return.” Palestinians who fled or were forced out when the Jewish state was created in 1948, and their millions of descendants, would no longer have a case to go back.

US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint statement in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images/AFP)

Also Tuesday, Gulf state Qatar cautiously welcomed the plan and Trump’s efforts to broker “longstanding peace,” but warned that was unattainable without concessions to the Palestinians.

“Qatar welcomes all efforts aiming towards a longstanding peace in the occupied Palestinian territories, appreciating the endeavors of the current US administration to find solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” the state-run Qatar News Agency reported.

“Qatar reaffirms its commitment for supporting the Palestinian institutions, noting that peace cannot be sustainable if Palestinians rights in their sovereign state… including east Jerusalem, and the right of return are not preserved.”

Qatar is a supporter of the Palestinian cause and has previously hosted leaders of Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules the Gaza Strip.

Turkey-Israel relations are currently tense, while Erdogan regards himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause.

When Washington recognized the capital of Israel as Jerusalem in 2017 and moved the embassy there, Turkish officials repeatedly criticized Trump’s decision.

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