Statement by Presidential Spokesperson Ambassador İbrahim Kalın

06.12.2017

Deputy Secretary General and Spokesperson of the Presidency Ambassador İbrahim Kalın held a press conference at the Presidential Complex.

Spokesperson Kalın stated:

“First of all, President Erdoğan will pay a state visit to Greece tomorrow. It is of historic importance because it will be the first presidential visit since 1952 after 65 years. At the invitation of President Prokopis Pavlopoulos of Greece, President Erdoğan will first visit Athens, then the Western Thrace and Komotini-Gümülcine.

Our bilateral relations will be discussed thoroughly under the topics of economy, energy, security, transportation, tourism and culture. President Erdoğan will meet with his counterpart and the Prime Minister of Greece and will complete his programme in Athens with an official dinner.

We have deep-rooted, historical relations with Greece at all levels in humanitarian, cultural, political and economic spheres. We hope this visit will contribute to further deepening and improving these relations.

As you know, Turkey and Greece have assumed the biggest responsibility in terms of resolving the refugee issue following the EU-Turkey migration deal. And we have duly performed all our responsibilities within the framework of the EU deal. However, the EU side has not delivered its promises, such as opening new chapters, including Turkish citizens in Schengen visa system or providing the funds they promised.

The support, Greece has given to Turkey’s EU membership so far, is pleasing. We will conduct comprehensive talks on this matter and other matters tomorrow and the day after tomorrow in Athens. And on Friday, President Erdoğan will meet with the Turkish-Muslim minority during our visit to the Western Thrace.

The news that the US administration prepares to recognize Al-Quds as Israel’s capital has been on our agenda for the last few days. As a result of our contacts with the Americans, we have received news that President Trump will make a statement in that direction today and recognize Al-Quds as Israel’s capital. President Erdoğan gave our first response on this matter yesterday.

Before that, he talked with President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine, many leaders of the Arab world as well as heads of state and government of the Islamic world. As of this morning, he had phone talks with heads of state and government of Malaysia, Tunisia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia. These phone talks and consultations will continue all day.

Due to its historical, religious and legal status, declaring Al-Quds as Israel’s capital is against international conventions, UNSC resolutions and would be a grave mistake. When we look at the legal background, none of the UN resolutions since 1947 have acknowledged or recognized the occupation and annexation of Al-Quds by Israel. After Israel occupied East Quds in 1967, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 2253 dated 4 July 1967, called on Israel to abstain from any step that would alter Al-Quds status.

In 1980, Israel decided to annex Al-Quds. In the face of this development, which was a severe violation of international law, the UN Security Council adopted the Resolution 478 on 20 August 1980 and declared null and void Israel’s all administrative and legal measures and activities that would alter Al-Quds’ character and status and the fundamental law it passed on the matter. From our standpoint, there has been no change whatsoever since this resolution adopted in 1980. I would like to reiterate that we do not recognize Israel’s decision and its policies of annexation and occupation.

Also, the UN resolution includes an article that stipulates that diplomatic missions in Israel cannot be located in Al-Quds. Therefore, there is no diplomatic mission at the level of embassy in Al-Quds except for a few small countries.

Our nation feels a historical responsibility toward Al-Quds, which they served for 400 years. Our citizens from all walks of life, communities from across the Islamic world are fully united on Palestine and Al-Quds. Al-Quds is our honor. Al-Quds is our common cause. As President Erdoğan said yesterday, Al-Quds is our red line. It is Islam’s first qibla and Islam’s third most sacred site, the Haram al-Sharif, is located there. Preservation of Al-Quds’ sanctity and historical status is of vital importance for all Muslims.

However, the issue is not limited to the Muslims. Al-Quds is a city that followers of the three divine religions share. And it is extremely important because not only Jews but also Christians and Muslims have historical and religious rights, memories and traditions there. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in its decisions, has repeatedly stated that any attempt to alter Al-Quds’ status is illegal and will not be recognized.

As you know, President Erdoğan paid a visit to Jordan on August 21 following the crisis that took place at the Haram al-Sharif in July to consult with the King of Jordan the steps needed to be taken to protect Al-Quds’ status. As you know, Jordan has a special responsibility in terms of protecting waqf properties and assets in Palestine. It is a responsibility and a right given them by international law.

King Abdullah II of Jordan will pay a visit to Turkey today. The Palestinian cause and the Al-Quds issue, among other matters, will be on the agenda of President Erdoğan and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

It is also a fact that there are steps that needs to be taken in order to preserve Al-Quds’ status and to prevent the grave mistake of portraying Al-Quds as Israel’s property. We call on the US administration to immediately backtrack on this grace mistake that will virtually eliminate the already fragile Middle East peace process.

As everyone has been saying for years, a two-state solution, recognition of East Quds as the capital of a fully-independent, sovereign and sustainable State of Palestine to be founded in the future is one of the most fundamental elements of the Middle East peace process. Any other step would lead to new areas of conflict, new hostilities, new tensions regarding the Middle East peace process, the Palestinian issue and even the relations between Islam and the West.

President Erdoğan invites the OIC to convene for an extraordinary summit to promote coordination and joint action among Islamic countries in the face of these sensitive developments relevant to Al-Quds’ status and regional peace.

President Erdoğan will host OIC Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit in Istanbul next week on December 13. As you know, President Erdoğan is also the Summit Chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The aim of his call is to promote full cooperation, solidarity and coordination among Islamic countries against the steps the US administration and the Israeli administration will take on Al-Quds.

However, this issue is not limited to the OIC member countries. It is also an issue of mobilizing the world’s conscience. President Erdoğan will also call on Muslims, Christians, Jews, academics, NGO representatives, and other members of the world public opinion. We will share with you the relevant letter in the afternoon.

I also call on all the Jewish people who side with peace and calm, the Pope, the Protestant and Orthodox Churches, other man of cloth, historians, academics, NGOs, all circles that are sensitive about the matter to act in unity, solidarity and coordination to reverse this grave mistake.

I also would like to express that we welcome the messages given by King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia during his telephone conversation with President Trump.

On the 24th of November, Mr. Trump told in a phone conversation to President Erdoğan that ‘no weapons would be provided to PYD from now on’. However, we see that his promise is negated, diverted and that the support is continued in the field.

It is neither explicable nor acceptable for us. The US administration has been stating that the relationship with the PYD/YPG was temporary and completely aimed at DAESH. They know very well and clearly that they have no excuse to maintain this relationship now that the DAESH threat is eliminated. And we will keep reminding them that.

As we have said before, you cannot defeat a terrorist organization through another terrorist organization. Every weapon, ammo given to PYD/YPG is at the same time support provided indirectly to PKK. We have presented that to the US administration many times with proof. However, they still insisting on this policy brings to mind ‘is there another plan here?’. We will maintain our principled and determined attitude. And we will continue our efforts to make sure the US ends its support to PYD/YPG.

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