Erdogan says Turkey aims to open embassy in East Jerusalem
Turkey intends to open an embassy in East Jerusalem, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, days after leading calls at a summit of Muslim leaders for the world to recognise it as the capital of Palestine.
It was not clear how he would carry out the move, as Israel controls all of Jerusalem and calls the city its indivisible capital. Palestinians want the capital of a future state they seek to be in East Jerusalem, which Israel took in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognised internationally.
The Muslim nation summit was a response to US President Donald Trump's 6 December decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. His move broke with decades of US policy and international consensus that the city's status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
God willing, the day is close when officially, with God's permission, we will open our embassy there
– Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Erdogan said in a speech to members of his AK Party in the southern province of Karaman that Turkey's consulate general in Jerusalem was already represented by an ambassador.
"God willing, the day is close when officially, with God's permission, we will open our embassy there," Erdogan said.
Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam's third-holiest shrine as well as Judaism's Western Wall - both in the eastern sector - and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades.
All foreign embassies in Israel, including Turkey's, are in Tel Aviv, reflecting Jerusalem's unresolved status.
A communique issued after Wednesday's summit of more than 50 Muslim countries, including US allies, said they considered Trump's move to be a declaration that Washington was withdrawing from its role "as sponsor of peace" in the Middle East.
On Saturday, an Egypt-drafted text was circulated at the United Nations Security Council which would insist that any decisions on the status of Jerusalem have no legal effect and must be rescinded after President Trump recognised the city as Israel's capital.
The one-page text, which was circulated to the 15-member council on Saturday and seen by Reuters, does not specifically mention the United States or Trump. Diplomats say it has broad support but will likely be vetoed by Washington.