DAMASCUS, SYRIA (12:25 PM) – An extraordinary summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has started in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Wednesday. The summit, convened and chaired by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is meant to discuss the recent decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem, also known as al-Quds in Arabic, as the “capital of Israel”.
Representatives from 57 majority Islamic nations are in attendance on the summit, which will discuss mainly the response of the worldwide Islamic organisation to US president Donald Trump’s decision.
Turkish president Erdogan addressed the meeting first, denouncing Israel’s “skyrocketing expansionism” and calling the regime a “state of terror”, as well as reiterating that touching Jerusalem was a “red line for Muslims”.
Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu stated: “Firstly the Palestinian state must be recognized by all other countries. We must all strive together for this (…) We must encourage other countries to recognize the Palestinian state on the basis of its 1967 borders with East Jerusalem [al-Quds] as its capital.”
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas declared in his speech that “Jerusalem [al-Quds] is and will forever be the capital of the Palestinian state… There will be no peace, no stability without that.”
Abbas furthermore rejected any future role for the United States in future peace negotiations, noting that the US is biased in favour of Israel. This marks a total break with past negotiations such as the Oslo Accords, that were usually mediated by Washington.
The OIC emergency summit comes after Saturday’s extraordinary meeting of the Arab League in Cairo, in which the organisation called upon the US to rescind its decision. However, the Saudi-dominated League is considered by many to have been too soft in its denunciation of the attempt to incorporate all of Jerusalem into Israel. On the eve of the OIC summit, Turkish foreign minister Cavusoglu lashed out at certain Arab countries for their “very weak” response to the possible loss of Jerusalem, a rant presumably aimed at certain Gulf monarchies.