Erdogan urges UN to resist US threat in Jerusalem vote

Turkish President Erdogan slams US President Trump's promise to cut funding to nations voting against US recognition of Jerusalem.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called on United Nations member states not to be swayed by US leader Donald Trump's threat to cut funding, during a key vote on a motion rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"I am calling on the whole world: never sell your democratic will in return for petty dollars," he said in a televised speech in Ankara.

Trump threatened to cut funding to countries that backed the motion to be voted on Thursday at the UN General Assembly.

The US decision on December 6 to recognize the city as Israel's capital was criticized by European Union member states and leaders of Muslim-majority nations around the world.

At an emergency session, the UN General Assembly will decide Thursday on a draft resolution reaffirming that Jerusalem is an issue that must be resolved through negotiations and that any decision on its status has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

The measure was sent to the General Assembly after it was vetoed by the United States at the Security Council on Monday, although all other 14 council members voted in favor.

Trump warned that Washington would closely watch how nations voted, suggesting there could even be reprisals for countries that back the motion which was put forward by Yemen and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries.

Erdogan accused Trump of making "threats."

"How do they call America? The cradle of democracy. The cradle of democracy is seeking to find will in the world that can be bought with dollars," he said.

"Mr. Trump you cannot buy with dollars Turkey's democratic will. Our decision is clear," he said, adding that he believed that "the world will teach a very good lesson to America today."

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Trump said, "They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care."