Erdogan: ‘Zionist’ Trump has taken himself out of peace role
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Erdogan: ‘Zionist’ Trump has taken himself out of peace role

Turkish leader says Jerusalem is a 'red line,' calls for Muslim leaders to find new mediator for peace process

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during an Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on last week's US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Istanbul on December 13, 2017.  (AFP PHOTO / POOL / EMRAH YORULMAZ)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during an Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on last week's US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Istanbul on December 13, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / EMRAH YORULMAZ)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday accused US counterpart Donald Trump of having a “Zionist mentality” over his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, adding Washington had no further role to play in the peace process.

Erdogan said Jerusalem was “a red line” for Muslims.

“The real proprietor of these lands is Palestine. Mr. Trump wants all this to be Israel. This is the product of an evangelist and Zionist mentality,” he said at the close of an emergency Muslim summit, adding that there can no longer be “any question” of the United States being a mediator in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Erdogan, speaking at the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said it was “out of the question” for Washington to mediate between the Palestinians and the Israelis. “That process is now over.”

He said it was time for Muslim leaders to discuss among themselves who was to take Washington’s role and to consider taking the matter to the UN.

This file photo taken on September 21, 2017 shows US President Donald Trump reaching to shake Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hand before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City. (AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski)

Islamic leaders at the conference urged the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, and said the United States no longer had any role to play in the peace process.

With the Islamic world itself mired in division, the summit fell well short of agreeing on any concrete sanctions against Israel or the United States.

But their final statement declared “East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine” and invited “all countries to recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital.”

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, flanked by other leaders poses for photographs during a photo-op prior to the opening session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul, December 13, 2017. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

They declared Trump’s decision “null and void legally” and “a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts” that would give impetus to “extremism and terrorism.”

In a Wednesday address 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 Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. 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.

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