Turkey threatens to sever ties with Israel

Erdogan's adviser says his country will cut ties with Israel in response to Trump's recognition of Jerusalem.

Dalit Halevi ,

Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash 90

Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel would have a direct and negative impact on Turkey's relations with Israel.

In an interview with the Hamas daily Al-Risala, Aktay said that Turkey intends to sever the diplomatic relations with Israel in response to Trump’s declaration, which he called "aggression against Palestinian rights and complicity with the crime of the occupation."

"The United States plays a hostile role against the Palestinians - and today it committed a political and moral crime that cannot be reconciled with it at all," said Aktay.

He further claimed that the U.S. decision would lead to the exclusion of the United States from the peace process.

"Every Islamic and Arab country that participated with Washington in this decision," said Aktay, "will lose its legitimacy because it chose to join with injustice and aggression against the Palestinian rights."

Erdogan on Tuesday warned the United States not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, or to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, saying that any change to the status quo vis-à-vis Jerusalem would constitute a “red line” for Muslims. He also threatened that his country would sever ties with Israel if Trump went through with the move.

Israel and Turkey signed a comprehensive reconciliation deal last year, ending a six-year diplomatic standoff following a violent encounter between Israeli soldiers and Islamist radicals on a ship attempting to break through the security blockade on Gaza.

On Monday, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Bekir Bozdag, warned of a “major catastrophe” if President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

"If the status of Jerusalem is changed and another step is taken... that would be a major catastrophe.”

"It would completely destroy the fragile peace process in the region, and lead to new conflicts, new disputes and new unrest."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett pushed back against Erdogan’s threats on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, in recent years Erdogan hasn’t missed an opportunity to attack Israel,” Bennett said in response. “Israel needs to advance its goals, including the recognition of a united Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”

“There will always be those who criticize, but in the end, a united Jerusalem is preferable to the love of Erdogan,” he added.