Turkey’s Erdogan tells Muslim summit Jerusalem is capital of Palestine
ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on world powers to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine on Wednesday and said the United States should reverse a decision recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.
Addressing a summit of Muslim leaders in Istanbul, Erdogan described Washington’s decision last week as a reward for Israeli “terror acts” and said the city was a red line for Muslims.
The meeting of leaders and ministers from more than 50 Muslim countries takes place a week after U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, which triggered widespread protests in the Middle East and Islamic world.
“Firstly the Palestinian state must be recognised by all other countries. We must all strive together for this,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier in the day.
“We must encourage other countries to recognise the Palestinian state on the basis of its 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades.
Turkey has said Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would plunge the world “into a fire with no end”, and called an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to urge Washington to change course.
Cavusoglu said this week Turkey would not call for sanctions in response to the U.S. move, but would appeal for all countries that have not formally recognised Palestine as a state to do so, and to issue a strong rejection of the U.S. decision.
He said the summit would declare East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and call for Israel to withdraw from territories it occupied in a 1967 Middle East war. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in that war and later annexed it in an action not recognised internationally.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the summit, which will also be attended by leaders including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir.
The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Bashir over his alleged role in war crimes including genocide in Sudan’s Darfur province, but Turkey is not a member of the court and not obliged to implement the warrants.
The Trump administration says it remains committed to reaching peace between Israel and the Palestinians and its decision does not affect Jerusalem’s future borders or status.
It says any credible future peace deal will place the Israeli capital in Jerusalem, and ditching old policies is needed to revive a peace process frozen since 2014.