Turkey aims to issue strong message for Jerusalem at OIC summit

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The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) will convene at an extraordinary summit in Istanbul on May 18 to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and to denounce the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, as well as the Israeli attacks that killed over 60 civilians in protests on May 14.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as the rotating chairman of the 57-member body, will host leaders and senior officials from Muslim-majority countries, aiming to issue a strong statement that they will “never abandon Jerusalem to the state of Israel.”

“The summit will focus on the stances and steps to be taken by Islamic countries to defend Palestine and Jerusalem in cooperation and solidarity with the State of Palestine and its people,” İbrahim Kalın, chief foreign policy advisor of President Erdoğan, said in a written statement on May 17.

“The Israeli occupation and the Palestinian issue are not only issues that concern Muslim countries, but everyone who believes in justice and law. Steps to be taken to mobilize the international community for ending the ongoing cruelty in Palestine will be addressed at the summit,” Kalın added.

The OIC summit will begin with a morning session in which foreign ministers from the OICwill attend to discuss recent developments after the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as well as the actions to be taken by the Islamic world. The ministers will also draft a declaration to be revealed by the leaders of the OIC later on May 18.

President 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. Iran, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Pakistan, Qatar, Guinea, Kuwait and Indonesia are among the countries that have confirmed the highest level participation in the summit but it is expected that most of the OIC countries will be represented in the same way at the summit.

Leaders invited to attend Yenikapı rally

On the same day as the OIC summit, Istanbul will host a massive public rally in the name of solidarity with Palestine, which will be attended by both President Erdoğan and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said OIC leaders in Istanbul will also be invited to attend the rally if they wish to.

“They are most welcome to attend the rally,” Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with state broadcaster TRT.

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