Erdoğan slams Israel for ‘daring touch Jerusalem’ at UNGA, Israeli ambassador walks out

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday condemned the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for signing accords with Israel, calling them “collaborators,” and pushing for a return to 1967 borders for the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“The soiled hand that dares touch the decency of Jerusalem, home to three major religions, has upped its audacity,” Erdoğan said, while “the order of occupation and tyranny in Palestine, the bleeding wound for humanity, continues to hurt consciences.”

The Turkish president accused Israel of “attempting to conquer the fort from within with help from collaborators,” and said support for Israel in the form of accords and efforts to open embassies in Jerusalem has “only served to help Israel’s efforts to erode fundamental international parametres.”

An “independent, sovereign and geographically continuous Palestinian state” is the only solution for the conflict, Erdoğan said. “Any other search is in vain, one-sided, and unjust.”

Leaving the assembly, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan accused Erdoğan of antisemitism, saying the Turkish president “continues his lies and antisemitic statements against Israel, and it is important that the world know the double standards by which he has been living for many years,” Jerusalem Post reported.

Bahrain and United Arab Emirates signed agreements with Israel to establish formal relations this month, possibly reducing Turkey’s significance in the region. The United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem last year, while Kosovo and Serbia have declared their intent to do so.

Erdoğan during the same speech said Turkey’s insistence on expanding the United Nations Security Council, represented with his motto “The world is bigger than five,” had been correct and that the global coronavirus pandemic has shown that the fate of humanity could not be “left at the whims of a limited number of countries.”

The effective governance mechanisms Turkey established with the shift from a parliamentary system to the current executive presidential one has allowed Turkey’s success against the pandemic, Erdoğan said.

The president called on the international community to stand against “all terrorist groups,” referring to Kurdish groups in Syria, and said the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland hinged on this.

Turkey has been the only country to stand concretely with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya in the face of General Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) attacks, Erdoğan said, condemning the international community for remaining silent. Erdoğan condemned foreign intervention and terrorism in Yemen and Iraq, and blasted Armenia and India for prolonging ethnic conflicts, namely with the Nagorno-Karabagh and Jammu-Kashmir regions respectively.

“Turkey has been left to shoulder all types of negative developments in the Eastern Mediterranean alone,” Erdoğan said, “and in contrast, our country is being ignored when it comes to natural resources in the region. This cannot be explained with intelligence, conscience, or international law,” calling for dialogue and cooperation among countries on the Mediterranean coast.

“One of the reasons for the crisis in the region has been the inability to resolve the Cyprus issue in a just, extensive and long-lasting solution,” Erdoğan said.

“Even though our historic responsibility as Turkey about the point we are at now is negligible, we support this struggle sincerely, and fulfill our own duties,” Erdoğan said on climate change.

Erdoğan also repeated a call for the United Nations to declare March 15, anniversary of the New Zealand mosque shooting that left dozens of Muslims dead, the “International Day of Solidarty against Hostility to Islam.”