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Turkey: Recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital would be ‘red line’ for Muslims

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday warned that his government could sever diplomatic ties with Israel if the U.S. declares Jerusalem the country’s capital city.

In a speech before Turkey’s parliament, Erdoğan said that any potential decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be a “red line for Muslims,” according to the BBC.

“Mr. Trump, Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” he said in the televised address. “We could go as far as cutting diplomatic ties with Israel over the issue.”

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Erdoğan’s warning on Tuesday appeared to further raise the stakes of what would be a controversial move by the Trump administration.

President Trump is expected this week to formally acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital, bringing the U.S. closer in line with the Israeli government, which already sees Jerusalem as the country’s capital, while breaking from the international community at large.

The U.S. and the international community have long acknowledged Tel Aviv as the country’s capital and have kept their embassies there. Trump has vowed to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, though he’s not expected to do so this week. Instead, he is expected to sign a waiver keeping the facility in Tel Aviv for now.

In the days leading up to Trump’s anticipated announcement, political leaders in Arab and Muslim-majority countries have warned that U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would likely derail a long-sought peace deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis and would spur upheaval in the region.

Jerusalem is home to holy sites for Muslims, Christians and Jews, and Palestinians want the city to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. 

At the same time, Trump has vowed to broker a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians — a task that has eluded presidents with more foreign policy experience and familiarity with the region. He has assigned his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to the matter.

Tags Donald Trump Jerusalem Middle East Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Turkey
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