Erdogan says Trump should have called me before Jerusalem decision

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, that U.S. President Donald Trump should have called him before the Jerusalem decision, amid Trump’s move to recognize the holy city as Israel’s capital and a U.N. resolution denouncing his decision.

“We made our call to the U.S. and are continuing to. There’s no reason not to have a meeting with Trump. Of course, we will call again. I wish that Trump calls us too. From the beginning, we actually waited for them to call us before declaring these decisions, as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] term president,” he said, speaking at Esenboga Airport in Ankara before a trip to African countries.

Erdogan said there was no reason for him not to meet with Trump, adding that he wished Trump had called him too.

He added that he did not yet decide to call him.

“Turkey is among the countries that should be sought in this regard. I believe this mistake would not have been made if Mr. Trump had made his consultation with us. We can call him. But there is not yet a decision made,” Erdogan said.

Turkey is determined to clear Africa of “FETO murderers”, he added, ahead of his three-day visit to Sudan, Chad and Tunisia.

“Many African countries immediately after the coup attempt [in Turkey] deported FETO members and transferred the schools run by the group to our Maarif Foundation,” Erdogan said.

The Maarif Foundation has recently assumed control of numerous schools — previously run by FETO — around the world, including 32 in Africa, according to figures released by Turkey’s National Education Ministry.

Arriving to the Sudanese capital, the Turkish president kicks off a three-country regional tour. Erdogan will visit Chad and Tunisia between Tuesday and Thursday.

Erdogan is accompanied by a large delegation including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz, Agriculture Minister Ahmet Esref Fakibaba, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmus, Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar and a delegation of some 150 Turkish businessmen.

The visit, which is the first by a Turkish president in Sudan, will be dominated by business forums to discuss investment and the signing a number of agreements to strengthen the existing economic partnerships in the fields of agricultural production, higher education, environment, military, mining, energy, health and tourism.

During the trip, Erdogan is due to hold meetings with his Sudanese counterpart Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, then he will address the Sudanese parliament on Sunday evening.

On Monday, the Turkish president will attend a Sudanese-Turkish business forum with Al-Bashir

The current trade volume between Turkey and Sudan stand around $500 million, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

Turkey’s exports to Sudan amounted to $328.5 million in January-October 2017, while imports from the country stood at $78.3 million.

The Turkish firms in Sudan operate in manufacturing, industry, energy, service, agriculture and machinery sectors and they help advance Sudan’s economy by contributing to employment.

Erdogan’s trip comes four days after UN’s 193-member General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution on Jerusalem with an overwhelming majority, calling on the U.S. to withdraw its recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.

On Dec. 6, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite worldwide opposition, sparking angry demonstrations across the Muslim world. Erdogan and other top Turkish officials have been at the international forefront opposing the U.S. move.