12:00 GMT13 June 2021
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    The Turkish president has reiterated his adamant opposition to Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and underscored that the ancient city is too "precious" for Muslims.

    On Saturday, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Washington and Tel Aviv not to make any steps that could “escalate the tensions” over the disputed city. 

    READ MORE: Erdogan: 'Mr Trump! Jerusalem is a Red Line', Turkey May Cut Ties With Israel

    Speaking via video link at the 16th Islamic Circle of the North America-Muslim American Society Convention in Chicago, the Turkish leader said that the global Muslim community should not allow any power to divide it based on “ethnic, sectarian or cultural differences,” adding that it’s high time for Muslims to realize their “real strength.”

    "The victory we gained on the issue of Jerusalem is an indicator of the many things we can achieve together through solidarity,” Erdogan noted while praising the UN resolution that condemned Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's “capital.” He also noted that “blackmailing and threats prior to the voting have been futile,” referring to US President Trump’s threats to cut aid to the UN as well as member states that voted to condemn the US decision in the General Assembly.

    Erdogan has been a vocal opponent of Trump’s decision to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Speaking at an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that was gathered earlier in December, he promised to confront Washington’s move legally and threatened to cut ties with Tel Aviv.

    He warned, ominously, that the "loss" of Jerusalem for Muslims could eventually lead to the loss of Medina and Mecca, Islam's two holiest cities.

    Erdogan has also called for the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and pledged to move the Turkish embassy there.  

    The US move on Jerusalem has caused unrest across the Middle East, with thousands of people taking to the streets to protest of the motion. The Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization Hamas has declared the beginning of the third "intifada."


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