The extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) drew to a close late Friday following strong condemnations of Israeli killings of unarmed Palestinian protesters.
A news conference was held and a final declaration was issued after a session chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Speaking at a joint press conference with OIC Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah, Erdogan said they held a very meaningful summit in terms of showing solidarity with the Palestinian people as well as conveying the necessary messages to Israel, which has been carrying out a massacre in Gaza.
Criticizing Washington, Erdogan said responsibility for the consequences of “this provocative decision to sabotage the peace process entirely belongs to the U.S.”
“We won’t accept the unlawful decision of the U.S. to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem despite all warnings,” Erdogan said. “We will never end our solidarity with the Palestinian people.”
Erdogan also urged the international community, especially the United Nations Security Council, to fulfill their legal obligations with regards to Palestine.
Stressing that sending an international peace force to help Palestinians who are sacrificing their young children every day to Israeli terror is “imperative”, he said: “We once again reject the U.S. decision on Jerusalem.”
He also said an aid campaign will be carried out during Ramadan across all OIC states for Palestinians.
Yousef al-Othaimeen, the OIC’s secretary general, said in his closing speech that “We reiterated the need to provide international protection for the Palestinian people.”
Regarding the practical measures the OIC would take in this regard, he said: “We decided to assign the OIC’s secretariat general to form an international commission of experts to investigate the Israeli crimes in the Palestinian territories.”
“We also confirmed that the U.S. move to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem has nothing to do with changing the realities on the ground.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, for his part, echoed the call for an international and transparent probe into the Israeli crimes in the Palestinian occupied territories.
“We confirm also the necessity for international protection for the Palestinian people,” he said, adding “the U.S.’ opening of its embassy in Jerusalem is a provocative act that undermines peace prospects in the region and threatens international peace and security”.
“Such a move emboldens Israel to continue its illegal actions against the Palestinian people,” Hamdallah said.
About the summit
The session was also attended by Premier Binali Yildirim and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as well as the heads of states of Afghanistan, Guinea, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Mauritania, Sudan, Jordan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Monday’s protests in Gaza coincided with Israel’s 70th anniversary — an event Palestinians refer to as “the Nakba” or “the Catastrophe” — and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Since mass rallies in Gaza began on March 30, more than 100 Palestinian protesters have been martyred by Israeli army gunfire.
The Istanbul summit was convened by Erdogan earlier this week to denounce the Israeli violence that martyred at least 62 Palestinians — the youngest just eight months old — during mass rallies Monday in the eastern part of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Turkey also carries out the term presidency of the OIC.
The prime ministers of Palestine, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan took their place at the meeting, while Uzbekistan, Algeria and Sudan were represented at the parliamentary and senate level.
In addition, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia, Oman, Libya, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Chad, Kazakhstan, Comoros, Maldives and Tajikistan were represented at the foreign ministerial level.
Over 340 national and international accredited press members covered the meeting.
Hours before the international summit, Istanbul also hosted a mass rally under the theme “Condemning Oppression, Supporting al-Quds [Jerusalem]” at the Yenikapi fairgrounds in the European quarter of the city.
Thousands of people attended the mass rally to show support for Palestinians.
Aside from Erdogan, Turkey’s Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli, Grand Unity Party (BBP) Chairman Mustafa Destici, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Jordanian King Abdullah II were also present at the rally.