Erdogan says U.S. can't buy Turkish support on Jerusalem

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey told U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday he could not buy its support in a United Nations vote on Jerusalem, and said the world should teach the United States a “very good lesson” by resisting U.S. pressure.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, December 21, 2017. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries that support a draft U.N. resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in Ankara U.N. member states should not let their decision in Thursday’s vote at the U.N. General Assembly be dictated by money.

“Mr. Trump, you cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will with your dollars,” he said. “The dollars will come back, but your will won’t once it’s sold.

“That is why your stance is important.”

Trump’s announcement two weeks ago that he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital broke with decades of U.S. policy and international consensus that the city’s status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Last week Erdogan hosted a special meeting of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, which condemned Trump’s decision and called on the world to respond by recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.

Trump’s Jerusalem move led to harsh criticisms from Muslim countries and Israel’s closest European allies, who have also rejected the move.

A draft resolution calling for withdrawal of Trump’s decision was vetoed at the United Nations Security Council by the United States on Monday. Following that vote, opponents of the U.S. decision called for the vote in the General Assembly.

“I hope and expect the United States won’t get the result it expects from there and the world will give a very good lesson to the United States,” Erdogan said.

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Dominic Evans and Ralph Boulton