Tuesday December 5, 2017
Turkey could cut diplomatic ties with Israel if the US recognise Jerusalem as its capital
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel over reports that the United States plans to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.Reports emerged on Friday that US President Donald Trump was considering recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move that would be symbolised by relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, upsetting decades of US policy.
Such a move would be a "red line" for Muslims, Erdogan said on Tuesday.
The plan has drawn criticism from a number of world leaders, who fear it would further escalate regional tensions.
French President Emmanuel Macron told Trump by telephone that Jerusalem's status must be decided in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Arab League was holding an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss developments on the status of Jerusalem, after a request by Palestinian officials.
The diplomatic adviser of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian leadership would cut contact with the US if it recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Jerusalem's status is an extremely sensitive aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel claims the city as its capital, following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan, and considers Jerusalem to be a "united" city.
Palestinians have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
No country currently has its embassy in Jerusalem, and the international community, including the US, does not recognise Israel's jurisdiction over and ownership of the city.
President Donald Trump is also considering moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley said an announcement would be made "in coming days" but that the president remained committed to the move: "It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," he said.
However, Trump was expected to continue delaying moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, despite his campaign promise to do so.
US Congress passed legislation in 1995 to move the embassy by 1999, but a provision in the law allowed the president to sign a waiver every six months, in the interests of national security.
Every president since 1998 has done so, including Trump in June. The deadline for the current waiver will expire on Monday.