Turkish government slams Trump over Jerusalem decision
Turkey has blasted U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, as officials voiced their concerns that the decision will further escalate tension in the region.
“[U.S. President Trump’s decision] has ended the peace process, which was still ongoing despite its vulnerability. With this decision the U.S. administration has sown the seeds of all kinds of crisis, chaos and conflict,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ posted on his official Twitter account on Dec. 8.
Bozdağ’s comments came after Trump declared that his administration will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, ordering the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said on Dec. 7, in a short speech he delivered at the White House.
“My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” he added.
Trump’s decision has received global opposition, including from Turkey.
“The U.S. administration will be the primary agent and responsible party for all kinds of crisis, chaos and conflict, and for all the negativity would come afterwards,” Bozdağ stated, describing Jerusalem as a “sacred city for Muslims” and criticizing Israel for its armed response to clashes in the West Bank.
“We condemn Israel for what is happening at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the West Bank today, and we condemn the Trump administration for bringing this about,” he said.
“We are calling on Israel to act with sanity and to end violence,” he added.
Erdoğan contacts Putin and the pope
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also voiced Turkey’s concern about Washington’s decision to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone conversation on Dec. 7.
Erdoğan told Putin that the recent step taken by the U.S. administration would “negatively affect peace and stability in the region,” Turkish presidential sources stated.
The same sources added that Putin shares the same views and said the U.N. Security Council would be following these issues.
“Both sides expressed serious concern in connection with the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the announcement of plans to transfer the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. Such steps can cancel out prospects for a Middle East peace process,” the Kremlin said in a statement released on Dec. 7.
“They noted that a further escalation of tension in the region cannot be allowed. The efforts of the international community should be directed to facilitating a renewal of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations with the aim of seeking compromise solutions to all the problems, including the question of Jerusalem’s status.”
Erdoğan also spoke to Pope Francis on Dec. 7 underlining that a free and independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem and within pre-1967 borders was a must for regional peace and stability.
According to Turkish presidential sources, Erdoğan also expressed his appreciation to Pope Francis, who on Dec. 6 called for the city’s status quo to be respected.
Speaking hours before Trump announced the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the pope had called for all to honor U.N. resolutions on the city.
Stressing that Jerusalem is a sacred place for Muslims, Jews and Christians, the two agreed that any attempt to change the city’s status quo should be avoided.