Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated his country’s rejection of the Trump Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal, suggesting that the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ was really an “occupation project.”
“The US peace plan for the Middle East is not a project to create peace,” Erdogan said, while speaking to Pakistani lawmakers in Islamabad on Friday. “It is an occupation project,” he added.
“In recent weeks, the US administration announced this ‘Deal of the Century’ plan. We expressed our opinion regarding this plan of annexation,” Erdogan said, presumably referring to the plan’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank.
“We announced to the whole world that we will not leave the Temple Mount to the Israeli occupiers,” Erdogan stressed, in reference to the contested Jerusalem holy site home to major religious shrines for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike.
In recent weeks, the Turkish president has repeatedly condemned the Trump Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, saying the plan “ignores” Palestinian rights and was “absolutely unacceptable.” Erdogan emphasized that in its current state the plan “will not serve peace or bring about a solution.”
Turkey has had poor relations with Israel for over decade, with President Erdogan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly attacking one another, comparing one another to ‘Nazis’, accusing one another of crimes against their neighbours, and calling each other corrupt autocrats.
The Trump administration unveiled its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan last month. The proposal envisions a two-state solution, including the recognition of Israeli claims to settler areas in the West Bank, the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and providing a few neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem for a Palestinian capital. It also offers the Palestinian side $50 billion in infrastructure and investment assistance.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the proposal out of hand, saying that Jerusalem was “not for sale,” and that the deal would be thrown into the “garbage can of history” by the Palestinians. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who led the development of the project on the US side, slammed Abbas over the rejection, telling media that if the Palestinians “don’t [accept the deal], they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”
Deal or no deal, Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised that Tel Aviv would move to extend sovereignty over the contested West Bank areas if his Likud coalition won parliamentary elections scheduled for next month.