Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized Israel at the opening of a summit of Islamic nations in Istanbul on Wednesday, calling it a “terror state.” Turkey is hosting the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Wednesday in the wake of the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as its capital — a move widely criticized across the world but hailed by Israel. The summit is expected to forge a unified position of Arab and Muslim countries.
Erdogan said in his speech to the gathering that Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims who will not accept any aggression on its Islamic sanctuaries. He said East Jerusalem is the capital of a future Palestinian state and called on states that have not recognized a Palestinian state to do so. Erdogan also said the “process to include Palestine in international agreements and institutions should be sped up.”
Leaders and top officials of the world’s Islamic nations are coming together in Turkey to try and forge a united stance against President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation is expected to be the strongest unified response yet to Washington’s move by the Muslim world. Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, addressed a pre-summit meeting of OIC foreign ministers in Istanbul on Wednesday. He said the US decision aims to “legitimize Israel’s attempt to occupy Jerusalem.”
Cavusoglu says the OIC nations “are here to say ‘stop’ to tyranny.” Jerusalem’s status is at the core of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Trump’s December 6 announcement was widely perceived as siding with Israel. It also raised fears of more bloodshed.