Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that US President Donald Trump is crossing "a red line" by unilaterally recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Erdogan even went on to say Ankara would not hesitate to snap diplomatic ties with Israel over the development.

Trump had earlier informed regional leaders in the Middle East that Washington would declare Jerusalem – considered a holy site by both Israelis and Palestinians – as Israel's capital. However, there is no indication the US embassy would be immediately moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Among the scores of voices that swiftly criticised Trump's decision, Erdogan sounded emphatic saying such a development was bound to have serious consequences in the region.

"Mr Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims," said the Turkish leader before adding that considering Jerusalem as the Israeli capital is "a big blow to the conscience of humanity".

"If this goes too far we may cut off diplomatic relations with Israel. We once again warn the U.S. against a decision that would only deepen the problems in the region," said Erdogan. "If such a step is to be taken, we will gather the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] leaders in Istanbul within five to 10 days." He asked the US to reconsider the move.

Though Israel considers Jerusalem as its own capital it is not yet internationally recognised as the Palestinians also consider the eastern part of the ancient city as their future capital.

Israel has quickly hit back at Erdogan's remarks saying the Turkish leader has no authority on the matter. "We don't take orders or accept threats from the president of Turkey," said Israel's Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz. "There would be no more righteous or proper an historical move now than recognizing Jerusalem, the Jewish people's capital for the past 3,000 years, as the capital of the State of Israel."

Erdogan on Israel
Erdogan had earlier likened Israel's policies to South Africa's apartheid Umit Bektas/Reuters