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It amounts to ‘throwing region into a circle of fire,’ says Erdogan

ANKARA: US President Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has sparked strong Turkish condemnation. 
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said the decision ignored UN resolutions and amounted to “throwing the region into a circle of fire.”
He added: “Hey Mr. Trump, what are you trying to do? If Trump is saying, ‘I am powerful and right,’ he is wrong.”
Erdogan is expected to speak with leaders of Western countries, including Britain, Germany, Spain and France, as well as Russia about Trump’s decision. 
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “We condemn the irresponsible statement of the US administration that we learned with great concern, declaring that it recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and it will be moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.”
The ministry added: “This decision is against international law and relevant UN Resolutions, as the annexation of Jerusalem by Israel has been rejected by (the) international community and the UN.”
Under Turkey’s chairmanship, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will convene an extraordinary meeting in Istanbul on Dec. 13 to present a coordinated response.  
While Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik called the decision a “provocation,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said it is “null and void” for Ankara, adding that it is ridiculous to define it “as a contribution to peace.”
Kalin said: “This is an attempt to legalize the current situation that would eliminate all peace initiatives, and it aims at opening deep wounds in the Middle East.”
Thousands across Turkey took to the streets on Wednesday night, and demonstrated in front of the US consular and embassy buildings. 
Galip Dalay, research director at Al-Sharq Forum in Istanbul, said Trump’s decision has further strained US-Turkish and Turkish-Israeli relations. 
“In particular, Turkish-Israeli relations are likely to deteriorate if violence breaks out in Palestine, and if Israel responds in a heavy-handed manner,” Dalay told Arab News.
“If the Turkish government had any intention of further improving relations with Israel prior to this decision, now it will face public sensitivity and pressure.”
Dalay said Turkey should manage this process via a multilateral framework, adding: “Given the wide international rejection of this issue, Turkey should build on this and not reduce it to a Muslim matter.”
Murat Yesiltas, a Middle East expert at the Ankara-based think tank SETA, said Trump’s decision may have various consequences. 
“It could throw the Middle East policy of the US into a profound crisis,” Yesiltas told Arab News.
“This decision will first and foremost derail the personal relationship between Erdogan and Trump, and create an opportunity for spoilers.”
Yesiltas said he anticipates a major change in Erdogan’s perception of Trump, adding that time will tell whether the latter’s decision will galvanize regional cooperation against it.
The day before Trump announced his decision, Ankara warned that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could prompt Turkey to cut diplomatic ties with Israel.

via AN