Erdogan: Jerusalem declaration makes US a ‘partner in bloodshed’

Moving on from war of words with Netanyahu, Turkish president turns his criticism on Washington

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with the Greek prime minister (not seen) in Athens, December 7, 2017. (Louisa GOULIAMAKI/AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with the Greek prime minister (not seen) in Athens, December 7, 2017. (Louisa GOULIAMAKI/AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that Washington has become a “partner in bloodshed” thanks to US President Donald Trump’s decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“With its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has become a partner in this bloodshed,” Ergodan told a crowd at an Ankara event, according to Reuters. “The statement by President Trump does not bind us, nor does it bind Jerusalem.”

The swipe at Washington came amid a war of words between Turkey and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Trump’s announcement.

“It is not possible to take seriously the allegations and accusations made by a mentality which massacred thousands of Palestinians, turned the lands of the Palestinians into an open-air prison, in order to suppress its guilt,” Erdogan’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said in the latest volley on Sunday.

Pro-Palestinians protesters chant slogans against US and Israel as they wave Turkish and Palestinians’ flags on December 10, 2017 during a demonstration in Istanbul. (AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL)

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms Israeli PM Netanyahu’s remarks targeting the Republic of Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” Kalın then said in a written statement.

At a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron hours earlier, Netanyahu had said Turkey’s president was a brutal dictator who supports Palestinian terrorist groups in their efforts to “kill innocent people.”

Israel has long pressed Turkey to end its support for Hamas and not allow members of the Palestinian terror group to live in Turkey.

Netanyahu’s comments were themselves a response to Erdogan, who had vowed to use “all means to fight” against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the country’s capital.

“Palestine is an innocent victim… As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!” Erdogan said. “We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen at Ben Gurion Airport as he prepares to board a flight to Kenya on November 28, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90)

In an address last Wednesday 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.

The move was hailed by Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum, though it met with almost wall-to-wall condemnations from the international community. 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 Turkish leader has been a leading figure in the international opposition to the move, which has sparked demonstrations across the Muslim world and days of unrest in the West Bank and Gaza.

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