Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he believes Muhammadu Buhari, his Nigerian counterpart, would stand with Palestine in teaching Israel a lesson.
On Friday, Erdogan had a conversation with Buhari by phone, asking that Nigeria, as a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, stand with Palestine — another member of the organisation.
“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria. Exchanging Eid al-Fitr greetings, the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and regional developments,” the Turkish Presidency tweeted on Friday.
“Drawing attention to Turkey’s efforts exerted in order for the international community to teach the necessary lesson to unlawful, unjust and unscrupulous Israel due to its attacks against Palestine, President Erdogan voiced his belief that Nigeria would show solidarity with the Palestinians in this rightful cause.”
Erdogan has also put a call through to the presidents or heads of states of Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Northern Cyprus, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Algeria, and Russia.
Nigeria’s History with Palestine-Israel
In 2012, Jordan presented a draft resolution before the UN general assembly to accord Palestine a “Non-Member Observer State” status at the UN. A vast majority, 138 of 188 countries, voted in favour of Palestine. One of those countries was Nigeria.
In 2011, Nigeria also voted in favour of Palestine becoming a full member of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
However, in 2014, another resolution was presented before the UN security council to end Israeli occupation of some of these holy sites and yield Eastern Jerusalem to Palestine.
The resolution also sought full UN member status for the country, and Palestine needed nine of 15 votes to get a deal to end Israeli occupation of these sites as soon as 2015 or as late as 2017.
Palestine was sure it would get a vote from Nigeria and some other committed allies. But at the nick of time, Nigeria chose to abstain. Palestine got eight votes and was disappointed Nigeria did not come through to make the ninth vote.
The state therefore could not get the sites back, neither did it gain full UN member status. Netanyahu praised Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president at the time, for his support.
With President Buhari in power, Erdogan is seeking to implicitly change Nigeria’s position on the Israel-Palestinian crisis.
So far, the Nigerian government has not taken on clear stance on the battle between Israel and Palestine, which gained global attention on Monday, following the exchange of rockets between both countries.
The ministry of foreign affairs released a statement earlier in the week, simply asking for de-escalation of the crisis.