Erdogan at UN: Turkey Stands With Palestinians, World Must Protect Jerusalem

This is Erdogan's first visit to the U.S. since the start of a trade row between the two NATO allies over a number of issues, including the continued detention of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations, September 25, 2018.
AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that Turkey continues to stand with oppressed Palestinians, while calling on the international community to protect the legal and historical status of Jerusalem.

Erdogan said Turkey could not remain silent over the use of sanctions as weapons when the country is in a bitter standoff with the United States over the fate of a Christian pastor detained by Ankara.

"None of us can remain silent to the arbitrary cancellation of commercial agreements and the use of economic sanctions as weapons," Erdogan said, adding that "we are in favor of solving our problems through conducting a constructive dialogue on equal terms." 

Erdogan is expected to call on the international community to share responsibility for Syrian refugees, local media said over the wekeend. Turkey hosts 3.56 million Syrian refugees, according to data from the country's interior ministry.

"No other country has shouldered as much responsibility as Turkey did in the Syria crisis which started seven years ago," Erdogan said in Ankara on Sunday ahead of his departure to New York, state news agency Anadolu reported.

"No other country paid the same price we did," Erdogan added.

Erdogan also said Sunday that he will be addressing ongoing "humanitarian crises," particularly in Syria. Earlier this month, Russia and Turkey agreed to create a demilitarized buffer zone by the middle of October in Idlib, the last stronghold of opposition rebels,.

A battle over Idlib could drive masses of its estimated 3 million civilians northwards into Turkey and Ankara has repeatedly cautioned against further conflict.