Middle East

East Jerusalem as Palestine capital necessary: Erdogan

No steps that will change Jerusalem's status, designated by UN decisions, should be taken, says Turkish president

East Jerusalem as Palestine capital necessary: Erdogan Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers speech during news conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II (not seen) at presidential complex in capital Ankara on December 6, 2017

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet


Turkish president on Wednesday said that an independent Palestine with 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital is necessary for stability in the Middle East.

"No steps that will change Jerusalem's status, designated by UN decisions, should be taken,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a joint news conference with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Ankara.

“No one has the right to play with the destiny of billions of people for fulfilling personal ambitions," Erdogan added.

He said the U.S. plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is not only against UN decisions but also Jerusalem's ancient character.


Erdogan called on the nations -- who have still not recognized Palestine -- to recognize the state of Palestine in order to provide balance and “keep justice alive” in the region. 

"We call on U.S. to renounce this step which will trigger chaos in the region, and Israel to pursue policies that will contribute to peace," Erdogan added. 

King Abdullah, for his part, said Al-Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem is very important for them.

"There is no alternative to the two-state solution," Abdullah added.

Abdullah said he also conveyed to U.S. President Donald Trump his concerns over his decision to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump is widely expected to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a Wednesday address in a move that has already drawn widespread condemnation across the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Many critics say the move would put the U.S. at odds with the international community, reverse decades of U.S. Middle East policy, and stymy efforts to restart the stalled Israel-Palestine peace process.​ 

Erdogan said a step like this will only serve terrorist organizations’ interests.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming all of Jerusalem as its "eternal and undivided" capital in a move never recognized by the international community.

The Palestinians, for their part, hope to establish an independent state of their own in the Gaza Strip and West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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