At OIC, Turkey urges Muslim nations to support Palestinians
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan salutes a rally in solidarity with Palestinians before an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, May 18, 2018. Turkey has called on Muslim nations to stand with Palestinians and to work to stop countries joining the United States in relocating their Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.(Presidential Press Service/Pool via AP) (Associated Press) May 18 at 4:00 PM
ISTANBUL â" Turkey urged Muslim nations at an OIC summit on Friday to stand with the Palestinians against Israel, warning that the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelâs capital would only be the first among many moves against the Islamic world.
The call came on the heels of a week that has seen Turkey take a leading role in condemning Israeli actions in Gaza â" Mondayâs killing of 59 Palestinians and wounding of hundreds of others was the deadliest day of cross-border violence in Gaza since a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. As part of its efforts, the Turkish government organized a massive âCurse Oppression, Support Jerusalemâ rally and an extraordinary summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in a show of solidarity Friday.
Speaking to leaders and high-level officials from Muslim nations, Erdogan called for unity, saying Jerusalem â" the third holiest site in Islam â" was their common cause. He said the United States had heightened regional tensions and argued its âJerusalem decision is the harbinger of new operations against the Islamic world.â
Erdogan, the rotating term president of the OIC, called Israelâs actions in Gaza âstate terror,â and compared them to the Holocaust.
âThe children of those who were subjected to all sorts of torture in concentration camps during World War II are now attacking Palestinians with methods that would put Nazis to shame,â he said.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah criticized the U.S. for becoming âpart of the problem and not the solutionâ and thereby disqualified itself as a peace process mediator by infringing on the Palestiniansâ âhistoric, legal, natural and national rightsâ with Mondayâs embassy move.
Jordanian King Abdullah II weighed in to say immediate resolutions were needed to economically support âthe resistance of Palestiniansâ and confront Israelâs attempts at âchanging Jerusalemâs Arab, Islamic and Christian identity.â
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani spoke as participants broke their fast for Ramadan, calling the Trump administration a âdangerous threatâ to global peace and security. Rouhani said Muslim nat ions should consider ârevisingâ political and economic ties with the U.S., and called on the international community to âcut tiesâ with Israel and boycott it through trade.
âIf Israel faces a united front of Islamic nations, it will never be able to continue its crimes,â the Iranian president said. He cited the example of the ânew and young generation of Palestine who is aware of their rights and has no intention to withdraw or compromise.â
Before the summit, the Palestinian prime minister and Erdogan spoke to hundreds of thousands waving Palestinian and Turkish flags. Erdogan told the rally that the responsibility to defend Jerusalem lay with them as crowds chanted âChief, take us to Jerusalem.â
He also slammed Islamic countries that failed what he termed âthe Jerusalem test,â saying âall we Muslims do is condemnâ and not unite. Erdogan said Muslim countries were âsevere, intolerant and unconscientiousâ to each other and âtoot hless and cowardlyâ to unspecified enemies. Erdogan struck a more conciliatory tone at the summit.
At the morning session of the OIC summit, Turkeyâs Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, âwe must prevent other countries from following the U.S. exampleâ and that âprecautionsâ must be taken against those nations that voted against, abstained from or did not show up for a United Nations motion in December â" some 128 countries overwhelmingly supported the U.N. against Washingtonâs decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelâs capital.
Turkeyâs role in condemning the Israeli actions in Gaza has led to a diplomatic spat with Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who traded barbs on Twitter and temporarily expelled senior diplomats.
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