Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has labelled Israel a “terrorist state”, and declared the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void”.
Erdogan said on Sunday that US President Donald Trump’s decision on December 6 on the status of Jerusalem “has no validity” for Turkey.
Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Sivas, Erdogan said “Palestine has been under occupation since 1947,” adding: “Israel is an occupying state, a terrorist state.”
Turkey will host an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss Jerusalem, which is home to sites holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Erdogan has threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel over the issue of Jerusalem, declaring the city’s status a “red line” on December 4.
The US decision to move its embassy to the city from Tel Aviv has drawn international condemnation and sparked a wave of protests. Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Anger has spread from Asia, through the Middle East, to North Africa, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to denounce the controversial move.
Responding to Erdogan’s criticism, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Turkish leader shouldn’t “preach to us”.
“He bombs Kurdish villages in Turkey, imprisons journalists … and helps terrorists attack innocents in Gaza and other places,” he said.
Netanyahu, speaking in Paris on Sunday alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, told reporters: “[Jerusalem] has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years, [and] it’s been the capital of the Jewish state for 70 years.”
Macron, however, warned that Trump’s move is a “threat to peace” in the region.
Confrontations on Sunday between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza left 157 people injured, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
At least four Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the US declaration.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS