Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced JASTA, the Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act, in a speech at the opening of Turkey’s parliament on Saturday.
“The allowing by the US Congress of lawsuits to be opened against Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 attacks is unfortunate,” said Erdogan. “It’s against the principle of individual criminal responsibility for crimes. We expect this false step to be reversed as soon as possible.”
AFP notes Erdogan hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef for talks at the presidential palace the day before his speech to parliament and even gave him a medal, Turkey’s Order of the Republic, in a sign of tightening relationships between Ankara and Riyadh. Both countries are Sunni Muslim states, and both support rebel forces against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, who is backed by the Shiite theocracy in Iran.
“The Turkish president earlier this year also backed Saudi Arabia in a diplomatic crisis with Iran over Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in January,” AFP recalls.
Hurriyet Daily News quotes Erdogan urging Muslim countries to unite against the U.S. 9/11 bill in a Sunday interview with Saudi television:
“Turkey and Saudi Arabia are being targeted … We see that all pitfalls and plans are pointed against the Islamic world. Therefore the states of the Islamic world need to be in cooperation and solidarity with each other,” he said.
“We have expressed disapproval due to adaptation of the 9/11 victims bill,” Erdoğan added.
“We will take a step at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] where we are the term president. I have also directed Turkey’s foreign and justice ministers to stand with Saudi Arabia for the mending of this serious mistake,” he said.
Hurriyet Daily News adds that Erdogan slammed the United Nations as a “burden on humanity” with an “unfair structure” at a science and technology conference in Ankara on Monday because there are “no Muslim member-states in the U.N. Security Council.”
The Turkish president also criticized the U.S. for demanding a lengthy extradition process for cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Erdogan’s government of masterminding the July coup attempt, and blasted the European Union for “failing to keep its promise” on humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees in Turkey.