The Turkish foreign minister has slammed the United States for intimidating Muslim nations over a decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, declaring that Turkey is not afraid of clashing with Washington.
“We told [the Americans] that in the name of Allah, the most compassionate and the most merciful, we do not fear them,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, accusing the US of threatening Muslim nations on the eve of a vote for a resolution on Palestine at the UN General Assembly last year.
Speaking in a freewheeling, campaign-style speech in his home province of Antalya on Saturday, Çavuşoğlu claimed Turkey is the only Muslim nation that defends Palestine and criticized other Muslim countries for succumbing to the pressure of the United States.
He claimed he was the only foreign minister from a Muslim nation standing next to his Palestinian counterpart in New York during the vote at the UN General Assembly while all his colleagues from other Muslim countries were absent.
“Even the ambassadors from some seven or eight major Muslim nations had to flee New York in fear during the vote because of the pressure from the US,” he added.
The resolution on the Protection of the Palestinian People was voted in the UN General Assembly with a vast majority endorsing it in what the Turkish minister described as a major defeat for the United States.
The resolution was approved by a vote of 120 to eight with 45 abstentions. The move came after the US decided to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem despite strong opposition from the rest of the world.
Turkish officials have ratcheted up their anti-US and anti-Israel discourse ahead of local elections slated for March 31.
Çavuşoğlu delivered the following remarks in Antalya, prompting a huge applause from the audience:
“If we or you are absent, if there is no AK Party [ruling party of Turkey] or no Turkey, is there any other state or nation that will look after Palestine? Everybody is afraid. The US took a decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Our president immediately convened a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] within four days. Everybody attended. Then we took it to the UN. At the UN General Assembly, the resolution we submitted passed overwhelmingly despite the fact that the United States and Israel had called each and every country and threatened them. Because we defend justice.
“On that day in New York where I took the Palestinian foreign minister with me under orders from our president, there was no other foreign minister from any Muslim nation. Not a single one. Not only was there no foreign minister from any Muslim country there, but also ambassadors from seven or eight major Muslim countries had to flee New York in fear because of the pressure from the US. Are these countries supposed to defend Jerusalem or us, Turkey? What have we said? We said in God’s name, the most merciful and the most compassionate, that we do not fear [the Americans]. The world is bigger than five [UN Security Council permanent members]. We are not afraid of your threats. We are going to defend Jerusalem and Palestine to the end. We have said we will never leave our Palestinian brothers and Jerusalem alone. This is not just the promise of Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu but also the promise of the Turkish nation.”