Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that he will appeal to the United Nations against US plans to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria.
“The UN has the final verdict on this,” Erdogan told the Turkish TGRT Haber television channel. “It is not possible for the UN General Assembly to approve this issue.”
US President Donald Trump last week said it was “time to fully recognize” Israeli sovereignty of the strategic plateau. Earlier Sunday, Israel’s acting foreign minister, Israel Katz, said that Trump would sign an order recognizing Israel’s sovereignty when he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on Monday.
“There’s a huge mistake here,” Erdogan said. “Trump wants to present the Golan Heights to Netanyahu as a present on a gold platter.”
The US, Erdogan said, is campaigning on behalf of Netanyahu and “threatening world peace.” Israel goes to the voting booth in national elections on April 9.
Trump tweeted Thursday that it was “time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” upending decades of US policy on the matter.
The move was seen as a potential major boon to the prime minister, less than three weeks before the general election. A signing ceremony with Trump in the White House would be an even greater boost for Netanyahu. But Trump has denied that his decision has anything to do with the Israeli election.
Trump’s move was condemned strongly by Syria and its allies Russia and Iran, as well as by Erdogan.
The European Union on Friday stressed that it would not change its position on the Golan and does not consider it a part of Israeli territory.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and extended Israeli law to the territory in 1981, a step tantamount to annexation. But the United States and the international community have long considered it Syrian territory under Israeli occupation. The plateau lies along a strategic area on the border between Israel and Syria.