UPDATE-Turkish lawmakers slam reported Trump Jerusalem plan

UPDATE-Turkish lawmakers slam reported Trump Jerusalem plan

Senior lawmaker of ruling AK Party calls decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital 'unacceptable'


By Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) - Turkish ruling party and opposition lawmakers spoke in unison on Wednesday to condemn a reported plan to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, Hasan Turan, the head of parliament’s Turkey-Palestine parliamentary friendship group, called the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump "unacceptable".

"This is just a decision by the Knesset with absolutely no legitimacy," said Turan, an Istanbul deputy for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, referring to Israel’s legislature.

"No country in the world has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital," nor has the UN, added Turan.

"Jerusalem has always been a red line for Muslims, and always will be," he said of the city, sacred to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

Trump is widely expected to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Wednesday and begin preparations to move the U.S. Embassy to the city.

The decision would place the U.S. at odds with the rest of the world -- excluding Israel -- reverse decades of American policy, and stymy any effort to resume long-stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinians, according to most analysts.

-'Don't play with fire'

Erdal Aksunger, deputy chair of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), called on the government to urge the U.S. against the move, using both diplomacy and “back-door diplomacy”.

U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would encourage Israel, he told Anadolu Agency.

"In Palestine’s fight for freedom, in the determination of Palestinians' own destiny, and toward international recognition of Palestine, the CHP will give endless support."

Aksunger warned that the U.S. move would encourage other countries to follow suit.

Speaking to journalists in parliament on Wednesday, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakir Deputy Altan Tan also criticized the U.S. move.

"The U.S. shouldn’t play with fire," he said.

"Jerusalem is a holy place for Muslims, Judaism, and Christianity, and this status should be protected."

Tan called on Israel to end its occupation of Jerusalem, instead giving the city a status under which "members of three main religions can easily express themselves."

Speaking to ruling party deputies on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “Mr. Trump, Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,"

"We implore the U.S. once again. You cannot take this kind of step," he said, adding that doing so could lead Turkey to cut off diplomatic ties with Israel.

Jerusalem remains at the core of the perennial Israel-Palestine conflict, as Palestinians want Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

- ‘The MHP doesn’t recognize Trump's decision’

Erhan Ustan, deputy group chairman of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), warned that Trump's move would add fuel to the fire in the Middle East.

"Every single bad decision made about Jerusalem will cause more tears and bloodshed in the Middle East," Usta told Anadolu Agency.

He stressed: "Jerusalem is a red line for our party and country."

Usta also stressed that the move would irritate Muslims in the region and globally, calling for unity in the Islamic world against the move.

"The day is like landing a huge punch, laying claim to Jerusalem … without any concessions," he said.

"We always stand on the side of our state for steps to be taken and on the side of our Palestinian brothers. We do not recognize Trump's decision," he added.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Good Party spokesman Aytun Ciray mentioned the importance of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims.

"This decision hurts the Muslim world," said Ciray.

"At the same time, this decision deals a major blow to struggles to solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue."

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