Turkey’s FM urges support for Palestinian statehood

ANKARA

In the wake of the Al-Aqsa controversy, Turkey's foreign minister on Tuesday called on the Muslim world to show its support for Palestinians by recognizing the state of Palestine.

Let's support the millions of Palestinians who have been forced to stay under Israel's occupation or fled abroad with our actions, not with mere words, Mevlut Cavusoglu told a meeting in Istanbul of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

"We invite everyone who raised their voice to stop this injustice and recognize the Palestinian state," he said.

Turkey currently holds the OIC presidency.

An independent Palestinian state within the borders of 1967 should be established as soon as possible, said Cavusoglu.

He also reiterated Ankara's support to revive the peace process under the framework of the two-state solution -- a peace solution which calls for an independent Palestine alongside Israel.

We all support the efforts of reviving the peace process. But there can be no lasting peace without law and justice, he added.

Turkey's top diplomat called on Muslims to unite to protect the holy mosque and the people of Palestine.

Our drifting apart delights the enemies of Islam, said Cavusoglu.

We must act more consciously to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine We should continue our struggle more effectively on the international platform, he added.

Israeli steps welcomed

Cavusoglu welcomed Israel's steps to lift metal detectors installed around the mosque compound.

"Israel took a step in the right direction. Our hope is that Israel will enter into an attitude that will fully take into account the sensitivities of Muslims to Al-Aqsa from now on, he added.

OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen said Israel's continuous violations at eastern Jerusalem puts responsibility on the shoulders of OIC member states.

Othaimeen added that the Palestinian people should be provided the necessary international protection.

"The meeting is of great importance for coordination between member OIC states, in its struggle against Israel's plan to seize Al-Aqsa," he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Cavusoglu met with Othaimeen and Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman to discuss the recent developments at Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem.

The meeting follows weeks of controversy over Israeli actions at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque in the wake of a deadly shootout.

Israel said the measures were needed for security, while Palestinians called them an effort to put the holy site under Israeli control.

Criticizing the measures, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week called on Muslims to rally to protect Al-Aqsa.

'Islamic world's duty' recalled

After facing international condemnation, Israel removed the detectors on Friday.

Palestinians on Saturday took to the streets and rushed into Al-Aqsa to celebrate the removal of detectors. A number of Muslims from around the world joined celebrations around the mosque and greeted each other.

Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians and the Al-Aqsa Mosque represents the Islamic world's third holiest site.

Later, speaking at a joint news conference with Al-Othaimeen and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki following extraordinary foreign ministers meeting to review the situation at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Cavusoglu said any attempts to harm the right of sovereignty of the Palestinian state over its capital East Jerusalem have been rejected.

He said Al-Aqsa was one of its three most sacred shrines of Islam, which was specified clearly in the final communique of OIC.

He reiterated Turkey's support for international efforts to revive the peace process.

He underlined that it is the Islamic world's duty to stand by the people of Jerusalem.

I hope that the crisis will teach Israeli politics to listen to the voice of its soulful intellectuals more, he said.

Al-Othaimeen, for his part, said the Muslim world voiced its demands in unity, which he termed as a victory against Zionism.

"Islamic countries have taken a common stance for the first time in the face of arbitrary practices Israel imposed on Al-Aqsa. The situation in Al-Aqsa concerns the sovereignty of it, which is the responsibility of Muslims, not Israel, he said.

Al-Maliki thanked all countries, especially Turkey for supporting Palestine and said without these efforts such swift results would not have been possible.

"We have won this struggle, but the struggle continues, so we always need support, he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency