Turkey, World

Islamic summit to send 'strong message' on Jerusalem

Islamic summit in Istanbul will also call for recognition of Palestinian statehood, says Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

12.12.2017
Islamic summit to send 'strong message' on Jerusalem FILE PHOTO

By Sorwar Alam

ANKARA

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will send a “strong message” against the United States decision on Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.

Speaking to a private broadcaster in a live interview, Cavusoglu said an Islamic summit in Istanbul will focus on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The OIC will hold the emergency summit to discuss recent regional developments, especially as they pertain to Jerusalem.

Last week, Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy to the city.

The dramatic shift in longstanding U.S. policy drew angry reactions -- including numerous demonstrations -- from across the Middle East.

“We are working on an Istanbul Declaration,” Cavusoglu said, noting that a joint declaration will be announced after the meeting which will “strongly reject” the U.S. move.

He underlined that the Islamic summit will also call on the countries which have yet to recognize Palestinian statehood for recognition of Palestine.

“The decision taken by the United States will be rejected strongly. A country like the U.S. should not fall into this situation... We will expect the U.S. to return from this mistake. This decision will be counted as null and void,” Cavusoglu said.

Turkey's foreign minister noted that Ankara had recognized Palestine as a state with East Jerusalem its capital.

Syria without Assad

On recent developments in Syria, Cavusoglu noted that Turkey’s stance against the Bashar al-Assad regime was “unchanged”.

Despite Turkey’s support for a political transition in Syria, “we think that an interim government with Assad will not be able to hold an election in real sense,” he said.

He also reiterated Turkey’s objections against the PKK/PYD terrorist group’s attendance at a Syria conference in Russia.

There are many Kurdish organizations in the country and the PKK/PYD represents only a small group of Kurds in Syria, according to Cavusoglu, who underlined that Turkey was not against Kurdish people but against terrorist groups.

“The PKK/PYD is not the only representative of Kurds in Syria. Even they represent [only] a small part of the Kurdish people,” he said. "We not only protest it, but we gave the Russian authorities the list of other Kurdish groups in Syria.

“We are not against our Kurdish brothers, we are with them.”

He said the PKK/PYD in northern Syria still posed a threat to Turkey, and Ankara would take any decision to eliminate such a threat.

The PKK/PYD is the Syrian branch of the PKK, which has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for 33 years leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 people.

The U.S. has provided weapons to PKK/PYD terrorists for its anti-Daesh campaign in Syria, largely ignoring the group’s links to the PKK, which the U.S., EU and Turkey list as a terrorist group.

While touching upon Trump’s decision to stop arming PKK/PYD terrorists, Cavusoglu said Ankara hoped the U.S. leader would fulfil his words.

He also noted that the top military officials from Turkey, U.S. and Iraq will discuss the next steps of fighting against terrorism adding that fight against Daesh was not ended yet.

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