Turkey Hopes to Open Embassy in East Jerusalem, Says Erdogan


ISTANBUL (Reuters) — Turkey intends to open an embassy in East Jerusalem, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, days after leading calls at a summit of Muslim leaders for the world to recognize it as the capital of a Palestinian state.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit was a response to the US president, Donald Trump’s decision earlier this month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. His move broke with decades of US policy and international consensus that the city’s status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Erdogan said in a speech to members of his AK party in Turkey’s southern province of Karaman that the country’s consulate general in Jerusalem was already represented by an ambassador.

“God willing, the day is close when officially, with God’s permission, we will open our embassy there,” Erdogan said.

It was not clear how he would carry out the move, as Israel controls all of Jerusalem and calls the city its indivisible capital. Palestinians want the capital of a future state they seek to be in East Jerusalem, which Israel took in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognized internationally.

Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest shrine as well as Judaism’s Western Wall — both in the eastern sector — and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades.

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Foreign embassies in Israel, including Turkey’s, are located in Tel Aviv, reflecting Jerusalem’s unresolved status.

A communique issued after December 13’s summit of more than 50 Muslim countries, including US allies, said they considered Trump’s move to be a declaration that Washington was withdrawing from its role “as sponsor of peace” in the Middle East.


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