Recognising Jerusalem as capital would cause catastrophe: Turkey

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Turkey Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag answering questions in parliament on the abolition of parliamentary immunity in Ankara on May 17, 2016.

ISTANBUL - A senior Turkish government official on Monday warned of a "major catastrophe" if the US recognises Jerusalem as Israel&39;s capital despite a flood of warnings from the Arab world.

"If the (current) status of Jerusalem is changed and another step is taken ... that would be a major catastrophe," deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdag said during a televised press conference.

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

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The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

President Donald Trump faces a key decision this week on whether to recognise Jerusalem as Israel&39;s capital, potentially reversing years of US policy and drawing a furious response from the Palestinian leadership and the Arab world.

Most of the international community, including the US as well as Turkey, does not formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel&39;s capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved through final status negotiations.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a champion of the Palestinian cause, often criticises Israel over its actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite a 2016 reconciliation deal after years of severed ties following Israel&39;s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound ship.

Bozdag, also government spokesman, on Monday said a US step to recognise Jerusalem as Israel&39;s capital would benefit "neither Israel ... nor the region."

"It would not benefit anything. Rather than open new doors, it would drag the region into a new disaster."