Turkey has condemned the decision by the Balkan state of Kosovo to open an embassy to Israel in the flashpoint city of Jerusalem.
Opening the embassy on Sunday was an extremely "unfortunate" decision taken by the leaders of a people who endured great suffering to gain their independence, said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement quoted by Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
The decision ignored the plight of the Palestinian people, who have lived under occupation for decades and suffered grave human rights violations it added.
"By acting this way, Kosovar leaders have violated the established parameters of the peace process, including the relevant UN resolutions on the status of Jerusalem, and damaged the vision of a two-state solution and peace hopes in the region," the statement said.
The ministry also urged the leaders of Kosovo to use common sense and reverse this irresponsible and unlawful step.
Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo’s independence in 2008.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Mideast conflict, with Palestinians insisting that East Jerusalem – illegally occupied by Israel since 1967 – should serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.
Israel has been trying to convince countries to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
European Union member states have refused to do so pending a final agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians on the issue of the holy city.
Among EU states, only Hungary also has a diplomatic office in Jerusalem.
Up to now, with the exception of the US and Guatemala, countries worldwide have declined to shift their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Earlier on Sunday, the ministry also voiced “concern” over the Czech Republic’s move to open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem.
The establishment of relations between Kosovo and Israel was preceded by agreements on the normalization of relations reached in recent months between the Jewish state and four Arab countries, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
In 2017, two-thirds of U.N. member states rejected then-President Donald Trump’s decision to have the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In all, 128 nations voted to maintain the international consensus that Jerusalem’s status can only be decided through peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Only eight countries stood with the U.S. in voting no on the resolution held in the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA), among them Guatemala and fellow Central American country Honduras.
Turkey expressed outrage over the decision, as authorities pointed to Jerusalem as a “red line” for the country.
Ankara responded to the so-called “Deal of the Century” by U.S. President Donald Trump, stating that the people and land of Palestine were not for sale.
Since then, Israel has been trying to convince world countries to transfer their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. / argumentum.al