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Turkey ‘disappointed’ by Kosovo’s move to recognize Israel

‘Even the thought by Kosovo officials of taking such a step — which is a clear violation of international law — is disappointing,’ Ankara says

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, left, listens to his Kosovo counterpart Behxhet Pacolli during a joint press conference in Pristina, Kosovo on October 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, left, listens to his Kosovo counterpart Behxhet Pacolli during a joint press conference in Pristina, Kosovo on October 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Ankara on Sunday voiced disappointment over majority-Muslim Kosovo’s decision to recognize Israel and set up its mission in Jerusalem.

A vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause, Turkey became one of the first countries to recognize 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 steps that would harm the legal status of Jerusalem.

A father holds his son waving Kosovo’s flag as they celebrate the 12th anniversary of the country’s independence, in the capital Pristina, February 17, 2020 (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Additionally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Serbia would 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 legitimize its statehood.

These decisions come out of a US-brokered agreement between the two Balkan rivals.

In a separate statement late Saturday, the Turkish foreign ministry said it was also “deeply concerned” by Serbia’s move.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in moves never recognized by the international community.

Aerial view of East Jerusalem. December 17, 2019. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90

Israel considers the city its undivided capital, but Palestinians want it as the capital of a future state.

The United States in December 2017 recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and shifted its embassy from Tel Aviv to the city, sparking Palestinian outrage.

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