ANKARA: Turkey’s president on Thursday blasted U.S. President Donald Trump threatening to cut aid to countries that vote to denounce his decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Mr. Trump, you can’t buy Turkey’s democratic free will with your dollars,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech to a culture and art awards ceremony at the presidential complex.
“What do other countries call America? ‘The cradle of democracy’. The cradle of democracy is looking to buy free wills with dollars,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan called on countries of the world “not to sell your free will in the fight for democracy.”
The full 193-member UN General Assembly will meet for a rare emergency special session regarding Trump’s decision. The overwhelming majority are expected to vote against it.
Trump said Wednesday at the White House: “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
He added: “This isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they’re doing.”
Erdogan also pointed to U.S. sanctions on Sudan, first imposed in 1997 for alleged links to terrorism and then tightened in 2006, before Washington lifted most of them this October, saying K-hartoum had begun to address concerns about terrorism and human rights abuses.
“When we look at these things, we ask ourselves, ‘What kind of a democracy is this?’” Erdogan asked.
“Let others use their own free will,” he urged.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Thursday also criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to cut aid to countries that vote in favor of a UN resolution denouncing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Yildirim said: “America, at the UN Security Council, was left alone beside the 14 members of Security Council and as a last resort came to a point where it threatens those who voted against America.”
In a speech made at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) alumni summit, Yildirim also called on Trump to show common sense, saying all nations enjoyed their own “sovereignty” and had the “right to make their own choices”.
“Being powerful does not mean you are right,” he stressed.
Less than two weeks after Washington moved to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and begin the process to move its embassy from Tel Aviv — the city where all other nations house their main diplomatic facilities in Israel — the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that rejected the establishment of diplomatic facilities in the contested city of Jerusalem.
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot.
We don’t care,” Trump said Wednesday at the White House. “This isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they’re doing.”