Turkey threatened on Tuesday to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if U.S. President Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, joining a mounting chorus of voices saying the move would unleash turmoil.
Senior U.S. officials told Reuters some officers in the State Department were also deeply concerned and the European Union, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia and the Arab League all warned any such declaration would have repercussions across the region.
A senior U.S. official told Reuters last week that Trump was likely to make the announcement on Wednesday, though his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said over the weekend no final decision had been made.
Such a decision would break with decades of U.S. policy that Jerusalem's status must be decided in negotiations.
Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. It later annexed it, declaring the whole of the city as its capital. The declaration is not recognised internationally and Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
"Mr. Trump, Jerusalem is the red line of Muslims," Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan told a parliamentary meeting of his ruling AK Party. "This can go as far as severing Turkey's ties with Israel. I am warning the United States not to take such a step which will deepen the problems in the region."
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far declined to speculate on what Trump might say.
But Israel Katz, Israel's minister of intelligence and transport, took to Twitter to reject Turkey's threat and reiterate Israel's position on the ancient city, which is one of a long list of stumbling blocks in years of failed peace talks with the Palestinians.
"We don't take orders or accept threats from the president of Turkey," he wrote. "There would be no more righteous or proper an historical move now than recognizing Jerusalem, the Jewish people's capital for the past 3000 years, as the capital of the State of Israel."
Playing with fire