December 15, 2017 / 12:05 PM / a year ago

Erdogan says Turkey seeking to annul Trump decision on Jerusalem at UN

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters during an opening ceremony of a new metro line in Istanbul, Turkey December 15, 2017. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey is launching an initiative at the United Nations to annul a decision by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Erdogan was speaking two days after a Muslim leaders meeting in Istanbul condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision, calling on the world to respond by recognising East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

“We will work for the annulment of this unjust decision firstly at the UN Security Council, and if a veto comes from there, the General Assembly,” Erdogan told crowds gathered in the central Anatolian city of Konya via teleconference.

The United States is a permanent Security Council member with veto powers, meaning any move to overturn Washington’s decision at the council would certainly be blocked.

Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in an action not recognised internationally.

Trump’s decision broke with decades of U.S. policy and international consensus that the city’s status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian talks, leading to harsh criticisms from Muslim countries and Israel’s closest European allies, who have also rejected the move.

A communique issued after Wednesday’s summit of more than 50 Muslim countries, including U.S. allies, said they considered Trump’s move to be a declaration that Washington was withdrawing from its role “as sponsor of peace” in the Middle East.

Asked about the criticism during an interview with Israel’s Makor Rishon daily, the U.S. ambassador to Israel said Trump had done “what is good for America”.

“President Trump...does not intend to reverse himself, despite the various condemnations and declarations,” Ambassador David Friedman said.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Dominic Evans and William Maclean

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