Turkish PM likens Trump's Jerusalem proclamation to Kurdistan referendum

Ankara that forcefully rejected Kurdistan Region's independence from Iraq maintains decades-old robust ties with Israel but it also actively backs Palestinian statehood.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim declared US President Donald Trump’s Wednesday recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was similar to Kurdistan Region’s recent referendum on independence from Iraq because most countries opposed both decisions.

"They [the Kurds] proceeded with that illegitimate referendum despite objection from the whole world. And we saw what happened," Yildirim said in his remarks touching Trump's signing of an executive order authorizing the State Department to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Yildirim referred to numerous United Nations resolutions denying Israel a full legal control of the ancient city that the followers of the three main Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam regard holy.

Along with the Kurds' Western allies, such as the US and the United Kingdom, Turkey, as well as Iran, were the two most vocal opponents of Kurdistan people's right to self-determination.

Washington's foes and friends alike have opposed Trump's decision.

Almost 93 percent of the voters supported an ultimate declaration of a state of Kurdistan through negotiations with Baghdad.

The move attracted the ire of Turkey and Iran whose respective governments and the latter's militias backed an Iraqi offensive in October on the Kurdish-majority city of Kirkuk and other Peshmerga-controlled areas.

Since its foundation, the Jewish state views Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital while the Palestinians demand the Israeli-occupied eastern sector of the city to be the capital of an independent state of their own.

Despite repeated diplomatic and rhetorical confrontations, Ankara maintains decades-old robust commercial and military ties with Israel but it also actively backs Palestinian statehood.

Israel was the only country that publicly and at governmental level expressed open support for Kurdish independence.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this week labeled Jerusalem as a red line "for Muslims" and threatened to cut off diplomatic ties with Israel over Trump's expected move.

Erdogan said the American recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital put the region in a "ring of fire."

There were protests by hundreds of demonstrators waving Turkish, Palestinian and Islamic flags overnight and on Thursday in front of the US and Israeli embassies in Ankara.

They chanted slogans including "murderer US, get out of the Middle East," "down with America!" and urged Palestinian Islamist group Hamas to "strike Israel," reported AFP.

In Turkey, the left-wing pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) too rejected the US decision in a statement and described it as a "provocative act" that could start a war.


Editing by Sam A.