Turkey's Erdoğan blasts Trump’s Middle East peace plan

(Updates with Turkish parliament's declaration, para 6-7)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan seeks to legitimise the Israeli occupation and ignores the rights of Palestinians, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday. 

Jerusalem is sacred for Muslims and the proposal to leave the city to Israel is unacceptable, state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Erdoğan as telling reporters on his flight back from Senegal on Wednesday.

After more than two years of discussions and delays, Trump presented on Tuesday his Middle East peace plan, which promises to keep Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital, proposes an independent Palestinian state and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements.

"The plan will not serve peace and solution in the region. It ignores Palestinians' rights and attempts to legitimize Israel's occupation,’’ Erdoğan said.

"Jerusalem is sacred for Muslims and Trump's so-called peace plan proposing to leave Jerusalem to Israel is never acceptable," the Turkish president added.

Meanwhile, the Turkish parliament issued a joint declaration condemning Trump's peace plan. The declaration, signed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Workers Party, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), stated that the deal conflicts with the United Nation’s two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

“The plan aims to legitimise the occupation of Israel in the Palestine lands that have been deepened over the years while attempting to force Palestinians to accept the terms,” the declaration said. It also maintained that Turkey will never support any deal or plan that is against Palestinians’ rights and freedoms.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the plan, which strongly favours Israel, stressing the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem.

Erdoğan is a fierce critic of Israel and defender of the Palestinian cause.  

Trump’s announcement in December 2017 recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel spurred a diplomatic row between Turkey, the United States and Israel. 

The U.S. move prompted the Turkish president to host an extraordinary meeting in Istanbul, under the auspices of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The 57-member OIC slammed Washington’s decision to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise the disputed city as Israel's capital.