Muslim leaders gather in Istanbul at OIC summit for Palestine
ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Leaders of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states arrived in Istanbul on May 18 to attend an extraordinary summit, called by Turkey, in Istanbul on May 18 to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and to denounce the relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, as well as the Israeli attacks that killed over 60 civilians in protests on May 14.
Representatives from more than 40 countries, including presidents, prime ministers and other high level officials took part in the event.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Afghan President Ashraf Gani and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz are among the attendees.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu have been carrying out hectic phone diplomacy over the last few days to make the OIC summit a successful one with high-level participation.
Foreign ministers of the OIC member states also gathered on May 18 in Istanbul hours before the extraordinary summit.
A total of 15 OIC member state foreign ministers are attending the gathering, including Iran, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Azerbaijan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt.
Speaking at the Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting Preparatory to the OIC Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference, Çavuşoglu called “the shameful incidents” in Jerusalem “the final straw.”
“We must ensure that the Israeli authorities and Israeli soldiers who point guns at defenseless people are held accountable,” Cavuşoğlu said.
“As an ummah [community] in solidarity, we must give the strongest reaction to Israel’s crimes against humanity,” he added.
OIC Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen, for his part, said in an opening speech that what Israel has done along the Gaza fence was “a war crime and a crime against humanity.”
“What Israel has done is a kind of aggression that Israel should be held accountable for,” he added.
Al-Othaimeen went on to endorse the call by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for an international investigation into the recent events in Gaza.
Rally in Yenikapı
On the same day as the OIC summit, Istanbul hosted a massive public rally in the name of solidarity with Palestine in the Yenikapı district.
The theme of the rally that attracted thousands of people is “Damn with cruelty, support for Jerusalem.”
Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and OIC leaders in Istanbul, including Hamdallah, attended the massive rally.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli and Great Union Party (BBP) leader Mustafa Destici were also among the attendees.