TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared the status of Jerusalem a “red line” for the Muslim world after violent protests erupted in the Gaza Strip last week leading to the deaths of 60 Palestinians.
President Erdogan expressed his anger at the violence which occurred following the state of Israel’s 70th anniversary and Donald Trump’s controversial decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Speaking after an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in the Turkish capital, President Erdogan said:
"Today we held a highly important meeting in terms of supporting the Palestinians and sending a signal to Israel.
“In our resolution, we emphasised that Jerusalem is our 'red line'.
“We do not recognise the US decision to transfer the embassy there; American policy encourages Israel even more.
“The US leadership has punished the Palestinians, whereas Israel, which violates international law, has been rewarded.”
President Erdogan also drew a sharp contrast between President Trump and former Republican Presidents, including George W Bush.
He said: “Look, what a difference we are witnessing now.”
The Turkish President previously accused Israel of “genocide” following the clashes in the Gaza Strip.
Speaking to students in London last Monday, President Erdogan stated defiantly: “We will continue to stand with Palestinian people with determination.
“We will not allow today to be the day the Muslim world loses Jerusalem.”
The Turkish leader said the violence committed against Palestinian demonstrators was a “humanitarian tragedy” and “what Israel is doing is genocide”.
He added: “From 1948, this occupation has been ongoing.
“Palestine has shrunk and shrunk. They are trying to kick them out of the land.
“Israel is a terrorist state.”
Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also accused the US of being an accomplice of Israel.
He said: "Unfortunately, the US has arrogantly stood by the Israeli administration which kills civilians and has partnered in this crime against humanity.
"This provocation will only worsen the problems in the region and cause a deeper mark in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, and will make peace in the region more difficult."
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry added: "We curse the massacre carried out by Israeli security forces, encouraged by this step, on the Palestinians participating in peaceful demonstrations.”