Dec 15 2017

Will Turkey open a Palestinian embassy in Jerusalem?

Since the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by U.S. President Donald Trump last week, Turkey has been at the forefront of the international reaction. Internally, it has prompted calls for Turkey to upgrade its Jerusalem Consulate to a full embassy to Palestine.

Milli Gazete, the newspaper of the Islamist Milli Görüş movement, asked the consul-general whether he had heard that the move would happen.

“Following the announcement by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) extraordinary assembly yesterday, have you received any written or verbal order to move the Jerusalem Consulate officially to embassy status?” the paper asked, but said it had had no reply.

Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu’s statement at the OIC did not explicitly mention this point, though he did “encourage other countries to recognise a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with its capital as East Jerusalem.”

The call to make the building an embassy was echoed by opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at a public works opening ceremony in the western province of Muğla.

“The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation met and they made the decision that East Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine,” Milliyet quoted him as saying on Friday. “I want the government to carry it out.”

“What is there in East Jerusalem?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked. “There is our consulate: now turn that consulate into an embassy, brother.”

However, The Times of Israel reported that Çavuşoğlu wanted to wait for the rest of the world to recognise an independent Palestine before changing the status of the diplomatic mission.

“Once we succeed, embassies will open in the independent Palestinian state’s capital, East Jerusalem,” it quoted him as saying.