Turkey Joins International Criticism of Israeli Construction in Jerusalem

Turkish FM calls Gilo construction plans 'a flagrant violation of international law'; says settlement building justifies Palestinian UN statehood bid.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday sharply criticized Israel's plans to construct 1,100 new homes in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, calling those plans "a flagrant violation of international law", Army Radio reported.

Gilo is located on land annexed by Israel after it took control of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War.

Turkey’s Ahmet DavutogluCredit: AP

"The plan raises doubt about Israel's sincerity and true intention to solve the conflict," Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu added that continued settlement construction proved that the Palestinian attempt to gain United Nations recognition of statehood was both justified and timely.

The United States, Europe and Arab states have said that the announcement of new construction in Gilo would complicate efforts to renew peace talks and defuse the crisis over the Palestinian UN statehood bid.

Britain and the European Union called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reverse the decision, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said new settlement building would be "counter-productive."

On Wednesday, Netanyahu rejected criticism of the planned construction plans.

"Gilo is not a settlement nor an outpost. It is a neighborhood in the very heart of Jerusalem about five minutes from the center of town," Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev said.

In every peace plan on the table in the past 18 years Gilo "stays part of Jerusalem and therefore this planning decision in no way contradicts" the current Israel government's desire for peace based on two states for the two peoples, Regev added.

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