Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued to rail against Tel Aviv and the U.S. after President Donald J. Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying that Israel is an occupying state, unleashing terror and violence upon the Palestinian civilians.
The U.S. move, which upended decades of American policy and sparked a wave of fury and rage across the Muslim world, also incensed Turkey, triggering mass protests following Friday prayers.
It also provided a much-needed fodder to the Turkish leader embattled by revelations from a trial in New York City, serving as a distraction from the case, and enabling Mr. Erdogan to rally his base for the cause of Palestinians.
President Erdogan talked with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Saturday to discuss measures to dissuade the U.S. from proceeding with its plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the Holy City as Israel’s capital.
The two countries would make a common effort to reverse the U.S. decision, a senior Turkish official told media.
Turkey’s president also held phone talks with leaders of Lebanon, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. He also signaled that Turkey would convene a summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to contemplate a joint reaction.
Speaking to Turkish businessmen on Saturday, President Erdogan unleashed castigating tirades against Israel, depicting it as an invading force in Palestine.
“Israel is an occupant state. With its police, it currently hits youth and children with terrifying terror. With its F-16s, it strikes Gaza, attacks Palestine,” the president said.
What prompts Israel to act, the Turkish leader argued, was its understanding of might and justice. “Why does it attack? Because I’m powerful. Being mighty does not mean being righteous. Those who are right are the ones who are powerful.”
Jerusalem, the Turkish president underscored, is a red line for Muslims. “What Mecca and Medinah mean for us, same is for Jerusalem,” he said to highlight the symbolic meaning of the Holy City for Muslims.