UPDATE – Turkey:Trump's Golan Heights move draws strong reaction

                ADDS FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT

By Sibel Morrow and Faruk Zorlu

ANKARA (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights drew angry reactions from Turkey on Monday.

"This unfortunate decision, which constitutes a grave violation of international law, particularly the United Nations Security Council Resolution 497 (1981), demonstrates that the U.S. Administration continues its approach to be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution in the Middle East," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Trump's decision is "completely null and void" for Turkey and for responsible members of the international community that attach importance to the territorial integrity of Syria and of all the countries in the region, the statement went on to say.

It called on the international community to comply with the fundamental principles of the UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolutions "instead of further destabilizing the region with futile attempts to justify Israel's acts against international law".

Earlier on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation officially recognizing the highlands on the border with Syria as Israel's territory, during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the U.S. "once again ignored international laws, however, this decision will never legitimize Israel's annexation".

Condemning the move, Cavusoglu said in a tweet: "[The decision] will further increase tensions in the region by preventing peace efforts in the Middle East."

Later speaking in southern Antalya province, Cavusoglu said Trump’s signature "is supposedly a gift to Netanyahu who is in trouble before the election."

Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the decision "as Israel bombards Gaza is manifestation of anti-peace mentality".

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman Omer Celik reiterated Turkey's stance on occupied Golan Heights, saying "the U.S. decision favoring Israel is wrong."

"[Golan Heights] is not Israeli territory, it is Syrian territory," Celik said.

Israel has long lobbied the U.S. to recognize its claim over the Golan Heights, but all past administration refused to heed the calls.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel occupies roughly two-thirds of the wider Golan Heights as a de facto result of the conflict. It moved to formally annex the territory in 1981 — an action unanimously rejected at the time by the UN Security Council.

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