TURKEY

Turkey harshly criticizes Trump’s plan on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital

TURKEY HARSHLY CRITICIZES TRUMP’S PLAN ON RECOGNIZING JERUSALEM AS ISRAELS CAPITAL

Turkey's Premier Yıldırım underlined in his Wednesday remarks that "U.S. plan on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and moving the embassy to there will be unlawful decisions and will make the existing problems in the region even more unsolvable."

The planned relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would be "unlawful", Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump is due to formally recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital later Wednesday and begin preparations to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, three senior U.S. officials confirmed late Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Seoul, Yıldırım said: "One way or another, both [these] situations will be unlawful decisions and will make the existing problems in the region even more intractable.

"The U.S. president to not make a statement in this direction is vital for the future of the region and global peace.

"Jerusalem is a very delicate subject in the Islamic world. Our biggest expectation and hope on this matter is that no steps are taken. Impositions, wrong steps in this direction would bring irreversible consequences."

Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that the city's eastern part -- which was occupied by Israel in 1967 -- might serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

During his election campaign last year, Trump repeatedly promised to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a city holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Israel has maintained that all Jerusalem is the capital of its "undivided" state and has ramped up settlement expansion in the area since Trump's inauguration in January.

"Along with the entire Muslim world, we will continue to stand by our Palestinian brothers in their just cause, just as we have done until this day," Yıldırım said.

Speaking in Brussels, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told journalists the move would "bring chaos to the region instead of stability and peace".

'GREAT DISASTER'
Çavuşoğlu, who will meet U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers' meeting, added: "Not only the Muslim world but the whole world stands against this.

"I have spoken to U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson before [about this issue] and I will discuss it again when I meet him."

Later, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who acts as government spokesman, said the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would be a "great disaster for all of us and everyone."

He tweeted: "The declaration of Jerusalem as the capital will destroy the peace process that has been conducted with great difficulty.

"It will pave the way for great turmoil, crisis, chaos and conflict in the region and foreshadows unseen negatives. In short, the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital will be a great disaster for all of us and everyone."

Bozdağ called on Muslims and Muslim governments to "protect their honor".

"I invite everyone to act responsibly, stick to the agreements signed, act with wisdom, to avoid risking world peace for domestic politics or any other reason and refrain from acting for own interests," he tweeted.

"I invite Muslims and Islamic countries to protect their honor."

Other Turkish ministers lined up to condemn the decision.

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül called the proposed change "unacceptable" while Health Minister Ahmet Demircan, speaking in Saudi Arabia, said it would be a "great violation" of international law and UN resolutions and called on Washington to back down from a "mistake".

Culture Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on his Twitter account: "Jerusalem is the capital of the Independent State of Palestine. It is an insult to the history of Jerusalem by attempting to make this city the capital of another state. It is impossible to talk about peace in the Middle East and the world while Palestinian Muslims are being isolated under pressure and [status of] Jerusalem is being debated."

Minister of Development Lutfi Elvan, speaking at an event in Turkey's southern province of Kilis, also commented on the potential U.S. move on Jerusalem.

"This is extremely a wrongful move. We want peace, harmony, and stability in the region. The move that is being planned by the U.S. will harm the region's peace, harmony, and stability," Elvan said.

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