Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey could soon open an embassy in East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, again denouncing the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Turkish head of state is one of the most vehement critics of the decision announced on December 6th by US President Donald Trump to recognize the Holy City as the capital of Israel. He called on Muslim countries to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
East Jerusalem was conquered and annexed by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967 against several Arab states. However, the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of the state they aspire to.
“Because the city is under occupation, we can not just go and open an embassy,” Erdogan said during a speech in Karaman (southern Turkey). “But God willing, this day is near and (…) we will officially open our embassy there.”
In a speech on Sunday, the Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also expressed the same desire to put an embassy in East Jerusalem. “From now on, we must declare that occupied East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine”, he said, adding that Turkey wanted a solution for Jerusalem that satisfies both sides in conflict .
Turkey, which maintains diplomatic relations with Israel, has an embassy in Tel Aviv and a consulate in Jerusalem.
The Jewish state does not have the right to “appropriate” Jerusalem, which is the “capital of the Muslims”, Erdoman also added.