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Erdogan says Trump Jerusalem move puts region in 'ring of fire'

Demonstrators took to the streets over US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital
Protesters chant slogans and hold posters placards during a demonstration against the US and Israel in Istanbul (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday lashed out at his US counterpart Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying it would put the region in a "ring of fire".

"Taking this type of step puts the world, especially the region, in a ring of fire. Hey, Trump, what do you want to do? What kind of approach is this? Political leaders do not stir things up, they seek to make peace," Erdogan said in Ankara.

Protests broke out in cities across the Middle East on Wednesday in response to Trump's announcement

Late on Wednesday, all Palestinian factions called for a general strike and midday demonstrations for Thursday.

Youths in Jordan’s capital Amman chanted anti-American slogans, while in the Baqaa refugee camp on the city's outskirts, hundreds of protesters roamed the streets denouncing Trump and calling on Jordan's government to scrap its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

"Down with America... America is the mother of terror," they chanted.

King Abdullah's Hashemite dynasty is the custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, making Amman sensitive to any changes in the status of the city, whose eastern sector was illegally captured by Israel from Jordan in a 1967 war.

Many people in Jordan are descendants of Palestinian refugees whose families fled after the creation of Israel in 1948.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Turkish demonstrators gathered in Istanbul and Ankara to show solidarity with Palestinians.

Demonstrators in front of the US consulate in Istanbul waved Palestinian flags and chanted: “Murderer United States, get out of the Middle East.”

They spray painted “Free Palestine” on a wall of the consulate and drew an Israeli flag and burned it.

"Jerusalem is for Muslims and will remain forever," the organisers said in a statement. Protesters also lit flares and waved Palestinian flags.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s second-holiest site, to condemn Trump.

Young Palestinians also organised a late-night protest in the West Bank city of Nablus.

In Gaza, activists urged people via mosque speakers to take to the streets to protest the US decision.

Palestinians also switched off Christmas lights at the traditional birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem on Wednesday night in protest.

A Christmas tree adorned with lights outside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus was born, and another in Ramallah, next to the burial site of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, were plunged into darkness.

"The Christmas tree was switched off on the order of the mayor today in protest at Trump's decision," said Fady Ghattas, Bethlehem's municipal media officer.

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