Turkish President Recep Erdogan brought a cardboard map showing Israel taking over Palestinian lands to the UN General Assembly, and railed against populist politicians worldwide for using anti-Islamic sentiment to gain votes.
Speaking at the UNGA on Tuesday, Erdogan argued that “skyrocketing racist, xenophobic and anti-Islamic rhetoric,” is “one of the biggest threats to global peace and stability.” He blamed it on “populist politicians seeking to garner votes… as well as communities normalizing hate speech under the pretext of freedom of speech.”
The Turkish president called upon the world leaders to “adopt inclusive and tolerant public rhetoric” in their countries to tackle the problem. He also asked the UN to declare March 15 “the International Day for Solidarity against Islamophobia,” to commemorate the killing of 51 worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2018.
Erdogan also brought along a cardboard map of Palestine and Israel, borrowing the technique from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation about the Iranian nuclear program in 2012.
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“Where does the land of Israel begin and end?” Erdogan asked, pulling up the map showing the shrinking expanse of Palestinian land, from the 1948 UN partition plan to the present day. “Today… there is seemingly no Palestinian presence. The entire land belongs to Israel,” he said. “But would it suffice to Israel? No. Israel is still willing to take over the remaining land.”
The Turkish leader was referring to Netanyahu’s announced plans to annex territories in the Jordan River valley and the West Bank, made ahead of the recent general election.
He also used the presentation to condemn the so-called “Deal of the Century,” promoted by the Trump administration in the US as a solution to the lasting Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The true aim of the US plan was to “eliminate the precedence of the state and the people of Palestine,” Erdogan argued, warning that its implementation will only result in “bloodshed.”
Palestinian territories occupied by Israel are “the most striking places of injustice” on the map, the Turkish president told the world leaders. He also condemned the UN for being ineffective, pointing to a series of resolutions condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestine as illegal, which have never been implemented.