Removing the status of Jerusalem, which is assured and protected by international agreements, would lead to catastrophe, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister and Government spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ said yesterday.
Bozdağ's comments came after recent reports suggesting that U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, being the first country to do so and likely to fuel anger in the Middle East.
Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, Bozdağ said the treaties also designate the protection of the status of Jerusalem as a responsibility of the U.N., in addition to its decisions in the matter.
"Turkey is reminding everyone of its responsibilities and commitments at this point. Please avoid steps that would drag the region into new disasters, clashes and chaos," Bozdağ said.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the suggestion Trump could reverse years of U.S. policy has prompted a furious bout of lobbying from the Palestinian leadership.
While Israel claimed the city as its "eternal capital" after occupying East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israel war, the international community does not recognize the claim, and foreign embassies are currently located in Tel Aviv. The final status of Jerusalem is supposed to be determined via direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community. The Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state. The traditional U.S. position is that the status of Jerusalem must be negotiated between the two sides.
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