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US recognition of Jerusalem risks igniting 'fire' in region, warns Turkey

06 Diciembre 2017

The US intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem is a sign of its incompetence and failure, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday, according to his official website.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters yesterday that his country's position towards Jerusalem had not changed, warning that if the US declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel the situation would be catastrophic, the Anadolu Agency reported.

A spokesman of the Turkish government told reporters in Ankara on Wednesday that the meeting will give an opportunity to Muslim leaders to act together and coordinate their response following President Donald Trump's expected recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that the status of Jerusalem was a "red line" for Muslims and could even prompt Turkey to cut ties with Israel.

There have been suggestions he will stop short of moving the embassy for now but recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a move that would overturn years of precedent and run contrary to international consensus. "The days of the sultan and the Ottoman Empire have passed". "Keeping the status of Jerusalem and Haram al-Sharif [al-Aqsa Mosque] has vital importance", he said.

Kalın highlighted that such a step would completely destroy the already fragile peace process in the Middle East and create new tensions and conflict.

Erdogan said Turkey, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), would immediately call a summit meeting of the pan-Islamic group if Trump went ahead with the move. Last year, Turkey and Israel ended a rift triggered by Israel's deadly storming of a Gaza-bound ship in 2010 that left 10 Turkish activists dead and led to a downgrading of diplomatic ties.

The United States supports a strong relationship between Turkey, the key Muslim member of NATO, and Israel, which is Washington's main ally in the Middle East.

The two sides have since stepped up co-operation, in particular in energy, but Erdogan, who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause, is still often bitterly critical of Israeli policy.

US recognition of Jerusalem risks igniting 'fire' in region, warns Turkey