Turkey has warned the US that recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be a “red line” for Muslims.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could go as far as breaking off diplomatic ties with Israel if Donald Trump went ahead with an anticipated move to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. It later annexed it, declaring the whole of the city as its capital — a move not recognised internationally.
Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Tensions have been rising in the Middle East ahead of Mr Trump’s decision.
He was due to decide on Monday whether to sign a waiver that would hold off relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv for another six months, as every US president has done since Congress passed a law on the issue in 1995.
Senior US officials said Mr Trump is expected to issue a temporary order, the second since he took office, to delay moving the embassy, despite his campaign pledge to go ahead with the controversial action.
Mr Trump is weighing whether to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but has not yet made a decision, his son-in-law and envoy for Middle East peace, Jared Kushner, said on Sunday.
A senior administration official said last week Mr Trump could make such an announcement on Wednesday.
Mr Erdogan said in a speech in parliament that he would convene a summit meeting of Muslim heads of state in the wake of any US move to recognise Jerusalem.
“Mr Trump, Jerusalem is the red line of Muslims. It is a violation of international law to take a decision supporting Israel while Palestinian society’s wounds are still bleeding,” he told a parliamentary meeting of his ruling AK Party.
“This can go as far as severing Turkey’s ties with Israel. I am warning the United States not to take such a step which will deepen the problems in the region.”
He also said he would convene a summit meeting of Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIS) countries to oppose any move recognising Jerusalem.
Possible move condemned internationally
On Monday, the OIS — which has 57 member states — said US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would constitute “naked aggression”.
Saudi Arabia had expressed hope the United States would not go ahead with the move and has warned such a decision would have serious implications, state news agency SPA reported.
“The recognition will have very serious implications and will be provocative to all Muslims’ feelings,” SPA said, quoting an unnamed official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry.
“The United States administration should take into account the negative implications of such a move.”
French President Emmanuel Macron “expressed his concern over the possibility that the United States would unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Mr Macron’s office said in a statement, after the leaders spoke on the phone.
“Mr Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed that the question of Jerusalem’s status had to be dealt with in the framework of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, with the aim in particular to establish two countries, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security side by side with Jerusalem as capital.”
Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador in Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said any US announcement on the status of Jerusalem before a final settlement is reached in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would hurt the peace process and heighten regional tensions.
“The kingdom’s policy — has been — and remains in support of the Palestinian people, and this has been communicated to the US administration,” Prince Khalid said in a statement.
The diplomatic adviser of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian leadership would “stop contacts” with the United States if Mr Trump recognised Jerusalem.
Mr Abbas’ aide, Majdi Khaldi, said the US would lose credibility as a mediator in the region if Mr Trump went ahead with the move.