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Erdogan slams Trump’s exit from Iran nuclear deal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference at the extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, on May 18, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the US President Donald Trump administration for unilaterally withdrawing from the multi-nation Iran nuclear deal.

“As Turkey, we do not accept re-igniting issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, that have been put to bed. We find the other signatories stating their loyalty to the agreement in the face of the US administration’s decision very positive,” Erdogan said during an iftar (fast-breaking dinner) for the holy month of Ramadan on Monday.

He also slammed countries that have nuclear weapons for “threatening the world.”

“If we are to be fair, to show a just approach, then the countries with nuclear weapons, which portray nuclear power stations as threats, have no credibility in the international community,” he said, apparently referring to the US and the Israeli regime, which possess nuclear weapons but insist that Iran not have access to even civilian nuclear technology.

The Tel Aviv regime has never denied that it has hundreds of nuclear warheads, and it has never allowed international inspections of its nuclear facilities.

President Erdogan also said that all nuclear weapons had to be flushed out of the Middle East, in an apparent reference to the Israeli regime, as it is the only entity in the region possessing such weapons.

“Those who have more than 15,000 nuclear warheads are currently threatening the world,” referring to the near total number of atomic warheads worldwide, most of them held by the US and Russia.

“Why are countries with nuclear warheads posing a threat to them?” he then asked, in an apparent reference to states such as Iran.

Trump withdrew the US from the Iran deal on May 8. He also ordered the re-imposition of anti-Iran sanctions.

But US allies — France, Germany, and Britain — as well as Russia and China have said they will make efforts to save the nuclear pact, working out various means to protect themselves from secondary US sanctions.

Relations between NATO members Turkey and the US have deteriorated over a variety of issues recently, ranging from Washington’s policy toward Kurdish forces in Syria to Trump’s controversial decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

‘Blood of Palestinian kids on US hands’

Censuring the US embassy move during the Monday event — in which all foreign ambassadors to Ankara, except Israel’s, were invited — Erdogan said Ankara would remain determined not to give up on the Jerusalem al-Quds issue and the Palestinian cause.

The hands of the US are “covered with the blood of Palestinian children,” he said. “We are determined not to give up on our rights on Jerusalem.”

“We will continue our fight until Jerusalem becomes the home of peace, tranquility, and dignity for all three monotheistic religions,” added the Turkish president.

“We will never leave our first qiblah [the direction toward which Muslims pray] to the mercy of a state which feeds on blood, tears, and occupation for decades,” he said, referring to the Israeli regime.

Turkey on Friday hosted an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul to discuss the Israeli regime’s atrocities against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

During that meeting, leaders of Muslim countries pledged to take “appropriate political (and) economic measures” against the few countries that followed the US in moving their Israeli embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

Also speaking in the Monday event was Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who condemned the Israeli regime’s massacre of Palestinian protesters in Gaza, saying, “The slaughter of the defenseless, unarmed people is cruel and brutal violence.”

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (file photo)

“The decision of the American administration to move the embassy to Jerusalem is a big mistake and it has a great share in the escalation of tensions of these events [in Gaza],” Yildirim said.

Addressing the ambassadors of different countries invited to the Ramadan event, Yildirim said it was time to take a stand about the situation in that region.

On March 30, Palestinians marched to the fence separating Gaza from Israel at the start of a six-week protest, dubbed “The Great March of Return,” demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

Israeli forces used disproportionate force — including live fire and massive amounts of tear gas — against the protesters. A total of Nearly 110 Palestinians were killed.

The violence was particularly intense on May 14, when over 60 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,700 others were wounded by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe).

Turkey threatens to ban imports of Israeli goods

Meanwhile, speaking on a return flight from Bosnia on Sunday, President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would review its economic ties with Israel after the June general elections and may boycott imports of some Israeli goods over the recent Gaza carnage.

Erdogan also expressed hope that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would enforce its decision to ban products from Israel.

In a final communiqué issued following an emergency meeting in Istanbul on Friday, the OIC called on “member states and the wider international community to ban the products of the illegal Israeli settlements from entering their markets, take measures against individuals and entities involved in or beneficiaries of the perpetuation of occupation and settlement regime.”

“Consequently, no product should be brought from there anymore. Naturally, we will assess this situation in the same way,” Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper quoted Erdogan as saying.

The Turkish president further stressed that Ankara would “evaluate” its relations — “particularly economic and trade ties — with them (the Israelis). We have an upcoming election. We will take steps in this direction after the elections.”

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