Turkey "disappointed" by Kosovo's move to recognise Israel


Turkey on Sunday voiced disappointment over majority-Muslim Kosovo's decision to recognise Israel and set up its mission in Jerusalem.

A vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause, Turkey became one of the first countries to recognise Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008.

"Even the thought by Kosovo officials of taking such a step – which is a clear violation of international law – is disappointing," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry called on the Kosovo leadership to avoid such steps that would harm the legal status of Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that Serbia will become the first European country to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem.

Kosovo will also set up its Israel mission in Jerusalem and in exchange earn Israel's recognition, as it seeks to further legitimise its statehood.

Those decisions came out of a US-brokered agreement between the two Balkan rivals.

In a separate statement late on Saturday, the Turkish foreign ministry said it was also "deeply concerned" by Serbia's move.

Israel seized control of East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in moves never recognised by the international community.

Israel considers the city its undivided capital, but Palestinians see the mostly Arab eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City with its holy sites, as the illegally occupied capital of their future state.

The United States in December 2017 recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and shifted its embassy from Tel Aviv to the city, sparking Palestinian outrage. (AFP)

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