Israeli Officials Slam Erdogan For Threatening To Sever Ties Over Jerusalem

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if the United States recognises Jerusalem as its capital.

Trump will announce Wednesday his decision on whether the USA will recognize the contested city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, according to the White House.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said, "We are not accepting instructions or threats from the Turkish president".

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Israel considers Jerusalem to be its unified capital and in 1967 annexed the eastern half of the city, which the Palestinians say must be the capital of a future Palestinian state. "Keeping the status of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque has vital importance", he said.

"Mr Trump, Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims", Erdogan said on Tuesday in a speech to lawmakers from his Islamic-conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliament in Ankara. "There is no more historically justified and correct step now than recognizing Jerusalem, which has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years, as the capital of Israel".

"If you take this kind of step, we will convene an Islamic cooperation summit in Istanbul", he added. Israel is a "sovereign state and Jerusalem is its capital", Katz said. "The days of the sultan and the Ottoman Empire have passed".

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Past US presidents have insisted that the status of Jerusalem - home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions - must be decided in negotiations. So too did European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, who told reporters that the issue topped the agenda of her meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. On Sunday, US President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law said Trump had not yet made a decision on whether to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move that would break with decades of US policy.

On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly promised to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem (al-Quds).

"We will discuss this further with Prime Minister Netanyahu next Monday here in Brussels", she added.

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