Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Turkey will open an embassy in East Jerusalem, in his latest effort to persuade other Mideast governments to recognize the eastern half of the disputed city as the capital of Palestine.
“God willing, the day is close when officially, with God’s permission, we will open our embassy there,” Erdogan said in a speech, according to Reuters.
The Turkish president has been one of the most critical voices among dozens of Mideast and European leaders who have denounced President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. His remarks on Sunday came days after the 57-member Organization for Islamic Cooperation declared the decision “null and void” and claimed the U.S. could no longer act as an “unbiased” broker of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Erdogan furthered that line of rhetorical attack on Sunday, blaming the change in U.S. policy for violence that has erupted in the wake of Trump’s decision. (RELATED: Anti-Israel Protesters Rage Outside US Embassy In Beirut)
“With their decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has become a partner in this bloodshed,” Erdogan said, according to the Independent.
It is not clear if Erdogan intends to open a Turkish embassy in East Jerusalem even without international recognition of a Palestinian state. The Turkish foreign minister said earlier this week the move would come after the world formally recognized such a country.
Israel has always claimed Jerusalem as its undivided capital, and the city has been the seat of Israeli government since the Jewish state was founded in 1948. However, Palestinians and other Arabs consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1967, to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Because of Jerusalem’s disputed status, many Arab governments responded angrily to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem, which had been promised but never acted on by U.S. administrations going back to former President Bill Clinton.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose government receives million in direct and indirect aid from the U.S. each year, said Wednesday the U.S. is no longer a “fair negotiator” in the peace process.
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