Turkey's president says Muslim countries are starting new funds to protect Palestinian families against Israeli abuses.
Turkey’s president Friday announced an initiative in the UN to counter the recent U.S. move recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Speaking from Istanbul via video to crowds in Turkey’s central province of Konya, who were holding a rally for Jerusalem, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "We are starting initiatives at the UN to nullify America's decision on Jerusalem."
Erdogan said the initiative first will be brought before the UN Security Council, which the U.S. is a permanent member of, and if it is vetoed there, it will be brought to the UN General Assembly.
He said that under UN Security Council resolution 978, from 1980, no country can operate an embassy in Jerusalem.
"America acted against this decision which it signed onto. No country in the world is above international law," Erdogan said.
He said Turkey is determined to do its share on this issue.
"Separately, we are starting initiatives to increase [the number of] states who recognize the state of Palestine," he stressed.
Erdogan said currently 137 countries recognize the Palestinian state.
"Hopefully, this number will increase with our efforts," he added.
Erdogan also said that Muslim countries will start new funds to protect Palestinian families, "preventing Israel’s seizure of neighborhoods, houses, and workplaces belonging to Muslims."
'New operations in the Islamic world'
Speaking later at the opening ceremony of a new metro line in Istanbul, Erdogan said Jerusalem is unique for Muslims, like Mecca and Medina, and ruled out "giving it up."
Erdogan added that Trump’s Jerusalem decision “is sign of future new operations in the Islamic world.”
Muslims must protest this move, or consequences will follow, he warned.
On Dec. 6, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
The shift in longstanding U.S. policy on Jerusalem sparked angry demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories and many Muslim countries.
Rebuffing the move, an extraordinary Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul this week declared East Jerusalem to be Palestine’s capital.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.