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Erdogan urges Jerusalem recognition as ‘Palestine’s capital’

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

Istanbul, Turkey | AFP | 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 step was made.

Erdogan convened in Istanbul an emergency summit of the world’s main pan-Islamic body the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), seeking a coordinated response to the recognition by US President Donald Trump of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In an angry address, Abbas warned that the United States has lost its role as the mediator in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, denouncing Washington as biased in favour of the Jewish state.

Erdogan — who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause — denounced Israel as a state defined by “occupation” and “terror”, in a new diatribe against the Israeli leadership.

“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.

– ‘No more role for US’ –
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.

“Jerusalem is and will forever be the capital of the Palestinian state… There will be no peace, no stability without that,” Abbas said.

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.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu 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.

“We will never be silent,” he said, urging countries to recognise Palestine on the basis of its 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital.

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