MIDDLE EAST

Turkish VP calls Trump’s Golan decision ‘illegitimate’

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Turkey's vice president on Tuesday described as "illegitimate" U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

Speaking in the central Yozgat province, Fuat Oktay said: "It is an illegitimate decision. Recognizing an illegitimate occupation is never ever acceptable."

Turkey will continue to defend what is right and lawful at every front against those disrupting peace in the Middle East, Oktay noted.

On Monday, Trump signed a presidential proclamation officially recognizing the Golan Heights as an Israeli territory.

The UN said the Golan's legal status would remain unchanged -- despite Trump's announcement -- and still be considered an "occupied territory" under international law.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Israel continues to occupy roughly two-thirds of the wider Golan Heights region as a direct result of the conflict.

In 1981, Israel formally annexed the territory in a move unanimously rejected at the time by the UN Security Council.

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