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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 September 2018

Putin joins Erdogan in condemning Jerusalem decision during trip to Turkey

The Russian President said the decision was “destabilising the region”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a news conference in Ankara, Turkey. Umit Bektas/ Reuters
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a news conference in Ankara, Turkey. Umit Bektas/ Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has joined his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in criticising the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, during a trip to Ankara.

Mr Putin and President Erdogan met on Monday evening to discuss developments in the Middle East, as well as bilateral relations, following an unscheduled trip to Syria and Egypt.

"Both Russia and Turkey think the decision of the US to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not helping the situation in the Middle East," Mr Putin said during a press conference.

"It is destabilising the region and wiping out the prospect of peace.”

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Mr Erdogan said he and the Russian President had taken a similar approach on the issue, condemning Israel for continuing to "add fuel to the flames".

The Turkish leader met Mr Putin several times this year and regularly talk on the telephone as they and Iran work to broker a solution in Syria.

Relations between the two countries were tense after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet for violating its airspace in 2015. But the two have since restored bilateral relations.

Mr Erdogan has been one of the most outspoken leaders in warning about the consequences of Mr Trump's recognition of Jerusalem.

The decision has sparked protests across the region as the Middle East saw a fifth day of demonstrations on Monday.

Tens of thousands turned out to the streets in Beirut, chanting “death to America”, in a rally organised by Hizbollah.

In Tehran, a few hundred diehard Iranian conservatives rallied against Israel and said Mr Trump had hastened its demise by his decision.

In Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the move "makes peace possible" when he met EU foreign ministers during a visit to Brussels.

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