By Ilkay Guder
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Pope Francis on Thursday about the latest U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In a phone call, Erdogan underlined that a free and independent Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem and within pre-1967 borders was a must for regional peace and stability, presidential sources said.
Erdogan expressed his appreciation to Pope Francis who on Wednesday called for the city’s status quo to be respected.
Speaking hours before U.S. President Donald Trump announced the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the pope called for all to honor UN resolutions on the city.
Stressing that Jerusalem was sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, the two agreed that any attempt to change the city’s status quo should be avoided.
In light of Trump’s controversial decision, a number of demonstrations were held in the occupied Palestinian territories, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq and other Muslim countries.
The U.S. administration has been urged to reverse its decision and abide by relevant resolutions and laws.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.