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Erdogan says Turkey could suspend relations with UAE over Israel deal

After Ankara calls move a betrayal of the Palestinian people, Turkish leader threatens to cut ties to UAE or recall its ambassador

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his party members, in Ankara, Turkey, August 13, 2020.  (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his party members, in Ankara, Turkey, August 13, 2020. (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that his country could suspend diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates after a landmark deal between Israel and the Gulf state.

“I gave an order to the foreign minister. I said we could suspend diplomatic relations with the Abu Dhabi administration or withdraw our ambassador,” Erdogan told reporters.

In the deal announced on Thursday by the US, Israel pledged to suspend its planned annexation of parts of the West Bank in exchange for a normalization of ties with the UAE.

The Palestinian Authority on Thursday announced the “immediate” recall of its ambassador to the UAE in protest at the deal.

Erdogan is a strong advocate of the Palestinian cause who has frequently criticized Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, Turkey still maintains diplomatic ties with Israel.

Earlier this year he criticized Washington’s Middle East peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as “treason”.

“History will not forget those who betray the Palestinian people and sell out the Palestinian cause,” Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, tweeted on Friday. “Turkey will continue to stand by the Palestinian people.”

The Turkish foreign ministry earlier described the UAE-Israel deal as a hypocritical betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

Ties between the UAE and Turkey have been strained for a long time, and have especially deteriorated over the conflict in Libya, where the two countries support opposing sides.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report

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