ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday strongly warned the US against recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying the move would help terror groups.
“Such a step will only play into the hands of terror groups,” Erdogan said at a joint news conference in Ankara after talks with Jordan’s King Abdallah.
“This mistaken step… will lead to public outrage in the entire Islamic world, dynamite the ground for peace and ignite new tensions and clashes in our region,” he said.
King Abdallah, who had been personally informed by Trump of the move by telephone, backed Erdogan’s warnings and said East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state. “There is no alternative to a two-state solution,” Abdallah said, speaking in English.
He cautioned that “Jerusalem is key to any peace agreement (between Israel and the Palestinians) and is key to the stability of the entire region”.
Abdallah said he had told Trump of “our concerns” over the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem during their telephone call.
He added that it was “imperative now to work fast” to reach a final status solution and a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis.
“This must allow the Palestinians to establish an independent state side by side with Israel and its capital in East Jerusalem.”
He also warned that ignoring Muslim rights in Jerusalem “will only fuel further extremism and undermine the war against terrorism.”
The two countries, which are celebrating their 70 years of diplomatic relations, focused on regional developments with a special emphasis on the de-escalation zones in Syria.
Sharing borders with Syria and Iraq, Ankara and Amman accord high importance to the ongoing developments in Syria as they host millions of Syrian refugees, while Jordan supports Turkey’s mediation initiatives in Syria for a cease-fire and peace settlement for the seven-year civil war.
Last month, Jordan, Russia and US agreed on setting up a temporary de-escalation zone in southern Syria, while Turkey, along with Russia and Iran, implemented a de-escalation zone in the northern part of the war-torn country since October.
“It is very important to have one more regional power on board for solving the Syrian conflict because there is a substantial lack of common position in Syria,” Nursin Atesoglu Guney, dean of the faculty of economics, administrative and social sciences at Bahcesehir Cyprus University, told Arab News.
Guney thinks that the Jerusalem decision, over which regional countries showed an outcry of opposition, will be a wake-up call to the Muslim world about the need for unity on regional issues.
“The problem here is not only the violation of the international law, but it will also push the world towards a new chaos that may start by a revenge campaign in Gaza,” she said.
“Considering the significant Palestinian community in Jordan, King Abdallah cannot keep himself away from the sensitivity of such a looming crisis,” Guney added.
According to Guney, taking initiatives on sensitive regional issues such as Palestinian conflict, Jerusalem issue and de-escalation zones in Syria, both countries aim for being real power brokers in the region and they intend to raise awareness of the international community about some acute challenges from a humanitarian perspective.
“In this way, they show that the US is not the only actor in the region, but they are many counterweight forces that balance it,” she added.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will convene for an extraordinary meeting in Istanbul on Dec. 13 to present a joint response to the US’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.