Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan lashes out at Israel

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan lashes out at Israel

ANKARA, Apr 8 (AA/APP) - The Israeli occupied West Bank "absolutely" belongs to Palestinians, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, lambasting Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu for his remarks on annexing Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if re-elected.

Speaking to reporters ahead of his departure for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the capital Moscow, Erdogan said: “West Bank is absolutely a territory of Palestinians.”

The Turkish president said every action of Netanyahu is against international law and that Turkey will continue to stand by Palestinians.

On Saturday, Netanyahu vowed to annex the occupied West Bank if he won the general election, which is slated for April 9.

In an interview with Israeli television, he said: "We will ensure that we are in charge on the ground. And we will impose sovereignty over the settlements in Judea and Samaria [West Bank]."

Erdogan went on to say: "Every action of Israel since 1948 is illegal. But, of course, it has always taken these steps with a support of the U.S."

Historical Palestine was driven from the Palestinians in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

During recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the Israeli sovereignty in Syrian Golan Heights, the U.S. took the lead, he said, adding the U.S.'s steps did not comply with the United Nations resolutions.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the Golan Heights as an Israeli territory, which Israel occupied in 1967.

In December 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump sparked international outrage when he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and vowed to relocate Washington's embassy to that city.

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as Israel’s “eternal undivided capital” -- a move never recognized by the international community.

International law views the entire West Bank as “occupied territory” and considers all Israeli settlement building there as illegal.