Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated Ankara's support for Palestinians, vowing to help protect their lands amid Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Erdogan -- in a video message on Twitter addressed to US Muslims on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Sunday -- said, "We will not allow the Palestinian lands to be offered to anyone else."
"I would like to reiterate that al-Quds al-Sharif, the holy site of three religions and our first Qiblah, is a red line for all Muslims worldwide," he added, referring to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem al-Quds.
Erdogan also condemned Israel's plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
"Last week we witnessed that a new occupation and annexation project, which disregards Palestine’s sovereignty and international law, was put into action by Israel."
The Israeli regime’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley, which had been envisaged in US President Donald Trump’s so-called "deal of the century", were unveiled earlier this year.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would start plans for annexing more areas in the occupied West Bank on July 1, in accordance with Trump’s scheme, further infuriating Palestinians.
The American president officially unveiled his scheme in January at the White House with Netanyahu on his side, while Palestinian representatives were not invited.
The proposal gives in to Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allowing the regime to annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.
Trump's highly provocative scheme, which further denies the right of return to Palestinian refugees, is also in complete disregard of UN Security Council resolutions and rejected by the vast majority of the international community.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. But Israel's aggressive settlement expansion and annexation plans have dealt a serious blow to any prospects of peace.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Erdogan's anti-Israel rhetoric, however, did not block an Israeli airline’s flight from landing in Turkey.
On Sunday, Israeli carrier El Al began cargo flights to Turkey for the first time in a decade.
The first flight landed in Istanbul on Sunday morning to collect 24 tons of humanitarian aid and protective equipment to help the US combat the novel coronavirus.
Turkish aviation authorities gave the Israeli carrier permission to operate two flights this week.
In 2010, Turkey halted flights from Tel Aviv after Israeli naval commandos attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla comprising six civilian ships in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish citizens, including a teenager with dual Turkish-US citizenship, on board the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara.
A 10th Turkish national later succumbed to his injuries in a hospital in 2014. The Israeli attack also wounded some 50 other people on board the ship.
The flotilla was trying to reach the Gaza Strip and deliver desperately-needed humanitarian aid to the inhabitants of the blockaded sliver of land.
Gaza has been under the Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a decline in living standards.
Relations between Israel and Turkey became strained after the attack, but the two sides normalized relations in June 2016 after a series of not very public negotiations.
An agreement to normalize the ties entailed the payment of $20 million in compensation to the families of the victims.