Istanbul: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday urged the world to recognise occupied East Jerusalem as the "capital of Palestine", as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas warned there could be no peace in the Middle East until such a move was made.
Erdogan opened in Istanbul an emergency summit of the world's main pan-Islamic body the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), seeking to marshal Muslim leaders towards a coordinated response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Abbas warned that the United States has lost its role as the mediator in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians as a result of the move by US President Donald Trump.
Erdogan — who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause — described Israel as a state defined by "occupation" and "terror".
"With this decision, Israel was rewarded for all the terrorist activities it has carried out. It is Trump who bestowed this award even," he said.
Erdogan added: "I am inviting the countries who value international law and fairness to recognise occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine," saying Islamic countries would "never give up" on this demand.
Abbas warned that there could be "no peace or stability" in the Middle East until Jerusalem is recognised as the capital of a Palestinian state.
He slammed the recognition by Trump of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a "gift" to the "Zionist movement" as if he "were giving away an American city," adding that Washington no longer had any role to play in the Middle East peace process.
"We do not accept any role of the United States in the political process from now on. Because it is completely biased towards Israel," he said.
Erdogan, whose country holds the rotating chairmanship of the OIC, will be hoping to unite often feuding Muslim leaders into a tough final statement on the move by Trump.
His top diplomat early Wednesday indicated that Ankara would be pushing for OIC states to, in a counter move, recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
"This step taken by the US legitimises the occupation," of the Palestinian territories, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavsuoglu told a meeting of OIC foreign ministers.
But bridging the gaps in a Muslim political community that includes arch rivals Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran will be a far from easy task, let alone announcing any concrete measures agreed between the 57 OIC member states.
Several key players, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are unlikely to want to risk their key relationship with Washington for the sake of an anti-Washington OIC statement.
Arab countries have so far condemned Israel without announcing any concrete measures.
Jerusalem's status is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Published Date: Dec 13, 2017 18:06 PM | Updated Date: Dec 13, 2017 18:06 PM