Ankara to take new steps for Jerusalem crisis

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Ankara taking new initiatives and motivating other countries to do more to better Jerusalem's future is worthy of commendation

The Jerusalem vote in the U.N. General Assembly, which was held upon the request of Turkey and Yemen, points to a historic turning point in many aspects. For days, we have been talking about Turkey's initiative on the issue and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's indisputable leadership within the Muslim community. Those who sarcastically asked "where are the Muslims?" upon the U.S. President Donald Trump's unfortunate decision have finally seen the silent majority's resilience, conscience and sense of justice.

We have also witnessed another turning point in this context. The U.S. has always been the same, with its hegemonic policies and actions that have stirred chaos in the Middle East. However, the former administrations used to implement such policies by using more sophisticated language and methods. They were trying to justify their actions under the pretext of defending human rights or giving voice to democracy. But Trump acts so pragmatically that he has overtly threatened and blackmailed without having a need to disguise his motivations. For the first time, a U.S. president has articulated his true motivations in such an open way, which has led the U.S. to lose its discursive pre-eminence.

Besides, the current White House administration neither takes any offence at this nor feels a need to justify its actions under another guise. According to a news report that was released last Monday, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. has approved a $285 million reduction of the U.N. budget for the 2018-19 period, describing the cut as "a big step in the right direction." In other words, they openly declared that they only pay heed to the interests and wishes of the U.S. regardless of international solidarity and peace. This has undoubtedly undermined the present image of the U.S. while breaching the set of values the country is established on.

I think the U.S. public will give an answer to such radical steps. The polls show that 49 percent do not support the Jerusalem decision, but there is more than that. The level of dissatisfaction increases when people are asked about Trump's other policies.

But let us not deceive ourselves. Even though a major cut has been made on the U.N. budget, the U.S. is still unquestionably the leading donor. More than half of the overall U.N. budget comes from Washington. The U.S. contribution to the $5.4 billion overall U.N. budget that encompasses the following two years is $3.3 billion. Therefore, no matter how much the U.S. issues threats and bold statements, the balances of power will unfortunately not change in the short term. Still, the recent vote on Jerusalem showed that an immaterial and moral change is possible despite the material conditions.

Turkey acts as a catalyst in this context. The country first organized an extraordinary Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul and then it took the initiative for the draft that was proposed to the U.N. General Assembly. As a third step, Turkey will bring together the Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Groups from various countries for Jerusalem. President Erdoğan formerly indicated these three steps. And now, with his initiative, efforts will be exerted and various international platforms will be established towards urging the U.S. to rescind its decision and conform to the resolution issued by the U.N. General Assembly. The event that aims to gather the Palestine Friendship Groups is planned to be organized in Istanbul during 2018.

Of course, taking such initiatives mean drawing more reaction from the U.S., but Turkey is motivated to side with all the oppressed in the world with the leadership of President Erdoğan and it enjoys great support from the rest of the world in this scope. This support cannot be overlooked. On the other hand, the Washington administration will resort to every means possible to isolate Turkey.

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