Israel a 'Terror State,' Turkey's Erdogan Says After Violent Fallout From Jerusalem Recognition

Erdogan calls Israeli soldiers 'terrorists' and will work with France's Macron to try to reverse Jerusalem decision. Meanwhile, Netanyahu meets with Macron in Paris

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017.
HANDOUT / Reuters

Turkey's president has escalated his vitriol over the U.S decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, calling Israel a "terror state."

In a speech Sunday in central Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "Israel is a terror state." He called Israeli forces "terrorists," referring to a photograph of a blindfolded Palestinian youth being led away by more than a dozen soldiers in the West Bank.

Israeli forces detain Palestinian Fevzi El-Junidi, 14-year-old, following clashes after protests against a decision recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Hebron, 07 December 2017.
Wisam Hashlamoun / Anadolu Agenc

"We won't leave Jerusalem to the mercy of a child-murdering country," Erdogan said, accusing Israel of having no values other than "occupation and plunder."

Thousands of Turks protest against U.S and Israel over Jerusalem Haaretz/Reuters

Erdogan said Turkey would continue its diplomatic efforts to reverse Trump's announcement, which he calls "null."

Erdogan and France's Emmanuel Macron will work together to try to persuade the United States to reconsider its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a Turkish presidential source said on Saturday. 

The two leaders agreed during a phone call that the move is worrisome for the region, the source said, adding that Turkey and France would make a joint effort to try to reverse the U.S. decision. 

Erdogan also spoke on the phone to the presidents of Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Azerbaijan on Saturday regarding the issue, the source said. On Wednesday, he called an urgent meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey next week. Decisions made at the approaching meeting of the OIC will show that U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital will not be easy to implement, Erdogan said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron met at the Elysee Palace on Sunday. During the meeting, Macron is expected to ask Netanyahu about Israel's intentions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The meeting was originally planned as a friendly lunch, and was to focus on Iran, but in light of the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week, it is now expected to be a more tense affair.

Last week, shortly before Trump gave his speech about Jerusalem on Wednesday, Macron was the first European leader to call him and warn about the potential regional impact of unilaterally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital only. On Sunday, Macron will become the first leader to host Netanyahu after the announcement. He intends to take advantage of this to interrogate Netanyahu about how Israel intends to act now, in light of the American declaration. France is especially worried about the decision’s implications for Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.