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December 6, 2017  16:13

Israel hits back at Turkish leader over threat to sever ties

Israeli officials blasted Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Tuesday for his threat to sever diplomatic ties should US President Donald Trump recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, The Times of Israel reports.

STEPANAKERT, DECEMBER 6, ARTSAKHPRESS:Diplomatic officials said in a statement that Jerusalem has been the “capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years and Israel’s capital for 70 years, regardless of whether Erdogan recognizes this or not.”

They spoke on condition of anonymity because the government has not yet commented formally.

Earlier, the Turkish president had said that his country, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, would immediately call a summit meeting of the pan-Islamic group if Trump went ahead with the move on Wednesday, and would “set the entire Islamic world in motion.”

“Mr. Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” he said in a raucous televised speech to his ruling party that was greeted with chants and applause.

Erdogan said, would “follow this struggle to the very last moment with determination and we could even go right up to cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, blasted Erdogan for his comments.

“Unfortunately, Erdogan does not miss an opportunity to attack Israel,” he said in a statement. “Israel must advance its goals, including the recognition of United Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel."

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said that Israel did not take orders from Turkey.

“Israel is a sovereign state and Jerusalem is its capital,” Katz tweeted. “There is no more historically justified and correct step now than recognizing Jerusalem, which has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years, as the capital of Israel. The days of the sultan and the Ottoman Empire have passed.”

Trump is expected to make an announcement on Jerusalem in a major policy speech Wednesday.

He was supposed to decide Monday whether to sign a legal waiver delaying by six months plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv, but missed the deadline.  

Artsakhpress.am


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