Turkey Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Adem Altan—AFP
Ankara call summit of OIC to form united front against Gaza massacre
Turkey on Tuesday urged Islamic countries to review their ties with Israel and said it would call an extraordinary summit of the world’s main pan-Islamic body after dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza border.
Ankara has reacted with fury to the killing on Monday of 59 Palestinians in clashes and protests, on the same day as the United States formally moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in defiance of international outrage.
“Islamic countries should without fail review their relations with Israel,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told his ruling party in parliament. “The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre,” he added.
Yildirim said that Turkey had called an “extraordinary summit” of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the body.
It was not immediately clear what format the meeting would take or who might attend.
A Turkish foreign ministry official, who asked not to be named, said there was to be “a summit in Istanbul on Friday.”
Yildirim said that after the summit at 3:00 p.m. a giant rally would be held at the vast Yenikapi meeting area in Istanbul under the slogan of “Stop the Oppression” to express solidarity with the Palestinians. “This has nothing to do with party politics. This is to show solidarity, brotherhood and togetherness,” he said. “The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre,” added Yildirim.
Erdogan regards himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause and last year hosted an OIC summit in Istanbul to denounce U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The summit declared East Jerusalem—which the international community regards as annexed by Israel—“as the capital of the State of Palestine” and urged the world to follow suit.
However, Turkey also maintains full trade and diplomatic links with the Jewish state after a 2016 reconciliation deal ended a dispute over the deadly storming of a Turkish ship by Israeli commandos. Ankara on Monday said it was recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Israel for consultations in the wake of the events.