Erdogan urges world to resist US threat to rescind ‘petty dollars’
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Erdogan urges world to resist US threat to rescind ‘petty dollars’

Turkish president tells nations not to ‘sell their democratic will’ in UN vote on resolution opposing Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 42nd Mukhtars Meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on December 20, 2017. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP)
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 42nd Mukhtars Meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on December 20, 2017. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called on UN member states not to be swayed by US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut funding, during a key vote on a motion rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“I am calling on the whole world: Never sell your democratic will in return for petty dollars,” he said in a televised speech in Ankara.

Trump threatened to cut funding to countries that backed the motion to be voted on Thursday at the UN General Assembly.

At an emergency session, the UN General Assembly will decide on a draft resolution reaffirming that Jerusalem is an issue that must be resolved through negotiations and that any decision on its status has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

The measure was sent to the General Assembly after it was vetoed by the United States at the Security Council on Monday, although all other 14 council members voted in favor.

Trump warned that Washington would closely watch how nations voted, suggesting there could even be reprisals for countries that back the motion which was put forward by Yemen and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries.

Erdogan accused Trump of making “threats.”

“How do they call America? The cradle of democracy. The cradle of democracy is seeking to find will in the world that can be bought with dollars,” he said. “Mr. Trump, you cannot buy with dollars Turkey’s democratic will. Our decision is clear.”

Erdogan said he believed that “the world will teach a very good lesson to America today (Thursday).”

On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, Washington’s UN envoy, warned that she would report back to Trump with the names of those countries that support the resolution rejecting the US recognition.

US President Donald Trump speaks about his administration’s new National Security Strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC, on December 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Speaking from the White House on Wednesday Trump said, “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

No country has veto power in the 193-nation General Assembly, unlike the Security Council, where the United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, can block any resolution. An overwhelming majority of UN member states are expected to back the resolution. While Security Council resolutions are binding, however, General Assembly measures are not.

A Security Council diplomat said Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic might bow to US pressure and not support the resolution.

Erdogan has sought to lead Islamic condemnation of his US counterpart’s move, calling a summit of the leaders of Muslim nations last week in Istanbul who urged the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

In an address December 6 from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality. He also said the US embassy would move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but did not give a schedule for the relocation.

Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.

The announcement was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. It was criticized by many countries, condemned by the Arab world, and infuriated Palestinians, who held violent demonstrations for several days in the West Bank and on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.

In a memo to its missions around the world Tuesday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry advised diplomats to encourage their host countries to oppose the resolution at the General Assembly. In the case of countries that are planning to back the resolution, diplomats were urged to encourage their local counterparts to at least refrain from expressing public support for the proposal.

Israeli diplomats were told to emphasize that the resolution is one-sided and will harm prospects for peace by undermining Trump, and may also lead to further violence in the region.

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