Organization of the Islamic Conference gathers in Istanbul for Jerusalem
High-level representatives, including some heads of states from the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), will come together on Dec. 13 in Istanbul at a summit to consider a joint stance against United States’ recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Turkey, as the term president of the OIC, will host leaders from Muslim-majority countries on Dec. 13, with a joint position of Muslim countries to be announced under the title of the Istanbul Declaration.
The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump instructed the State Department to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in line with the 1995-dated Jerusalem Embassy Act.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will preside over the OIC meeting in Istanbul and will address the opening and closing ceremonies of the summit.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Bangladeshi President Abdoul Hamid and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are among 22 heads of state and government who will be present at the summit.
Some 25 foreign ministers will also be represented, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Kazakhstan. Saudi Arabia will be represented by Islamic Affairs Minister Salih bin Abdulaziz al-Shaikh.
In the morning session, the foreign ministers of the OIC counties will come together to discuss recent developments before giving the floor to the presidents and head of states and governments.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told private broadcaster NTV on Nov. 12 that some Arab countries have failed to sufficiently repudiate Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital because U.S. President Donald Trump “scares them.”
“It seems that some Arab countries refrain from challenging Trump,” Çavuşoğlu said.
However, he promised that a “strong statement” on Jerusalem would emerge from the OIC extraordinary summit in Istanbul on Dec. 13.
‘Strong message to be issued’
“A very strong message will be delivered from the summit,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding that this message will stress that the decision taken by the U.S. unilaterally breaches international law, and will call all nations to stand against it while also calling nations to recognize the State of Palestine.
“If we don’t defend Jerusalem today, when will we defend it? If we don’t defend Jerusalem, one of the three most sacred places of Islam, what will we defend?” he stated, hinting that the text would cite East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine with pre-1967 borders.
At the end of the 1948 war the armistice line divided Jerusalem in two: The Israel-controlled Western part, and the Jordan-controlled eastern part, which included the old walled city containing important Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious sites. Since the Six Day War in 1967 the whole city has been under Israel’s control.
OIC leaders will conclude ongoing talks over the technical details of the declaration on Dec. 13.