Turkey expressed deep concerns over U.S. mulling to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital next week and has warned of a ‘catastrophe’ if that happens.
“If the (current) status of Jerusalem is changed and another step is taken … that would be a major catastrophe,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said during a televised press conference on Monday.
He underscored that such a move would destroy the fragile peace process in the region, and lead to new conflicts, new disputes and new unrest.
The status of Jerusalem constitutes the main touchstone of the contentious territorial disputes that defined the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
President Donald J. Trump faces a key decision this week on whether to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, potentially reversing years of United States policy and drawing a furious response from the Palestinian leadership and the Arab world.
Most of the international community, including the US as well as Turkey, does not formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved through negotiations to decide the final status of the holy city.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a champion of the Palestinian cause, often criticizes Israel over its actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite a 2016 reconciliation deal after years of severed ties following Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound ship.
Mr. Bozdag, who also serves as government spokesman, said a US step to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would benefit “neither Israel … nor the region.”
“It would not benefit anything. Rather than open new doors, it would drag the region into a new disaster.”