Erdogan hopes to open embassy in Palestine 'soon'

Erdogan rejects Trump's Jerusalem move, hopes to open embassy in Palestine 'soon'
3 min read
17 December, 2017
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared he hopes Turkey will have an embassy in Palestine soon, rejecting Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [Getty]
Turkey hopes it will soon open an embassy to Palestine in Jerusalem said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech on Sunday, denouncing the US president's recognition of the city as the capital of Israel.

Speaking to his ruling party in the city of Karaman, President Erdogan spoke of the difficulty of opening an embassy currently. "Because it is under occupation, we can't just go there and open an embassy," Erdogan said.

"But, God willing, those days are near and...we will officially open our embassy there," he added, without giving a set timeframe.

The Turkish president had convened in Istanbul an emergency summit last week of the world's main pan-Islamic body - the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) - seeking a coordinated response to the recognition by Trump of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Their final statement declared "East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine" and invited "all countries to recognise the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital".

East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after it seized control of the area in the 1967 war, in a move never recognised by the international community.

Erdogan slammed once again the US decision to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "Please stop where you are and don't attempt any Zionist operation," he said. "If you try, then the price is going to be high."

God willing, those days are near and...we will officially open our embassy there

While Erdogan had hailed the outcome of the summit as a "world vote of unity", it was mired by lower-level attendance of US allies.

Several key players - like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - were unlikely to want to risk their key relationship with Washington for the sake of an anti-US OIC statement.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Lebanese President Michel Aoun were among the heads of state present, as well as the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait and presidents of Afghanistan and Indonesia.

The level of Saudi representation - critical if the final statement is to carry long-term credibility - was only at the level of a senior foreign ministry official.

Israel has reacted to the calls saying they were "not impressed".

"We are not impressed by all these statements," Netanyahu said in a speech, saying he believed many countries would follow US President Donald Trump's lead and recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, a position nearly the entire world rejects saying its status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many have warned against the far-reaching consequences of such a move.