Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has criticized the Muslim countries which failed to show a strong response to Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, accusing them of being afraid of the US.
“There was a lot of strong reaction, reaction from the highest level. Some countries, however, have shown a very weak response. It seems that some countries are very timid, since the decision came from that country [the US],” the Minister told NTV broadcaster on Tuesday, adding that such countries were afraid of challenging the US and its “superpower mentality.”
The remarks came ahead of an extraordinary Summit and Ministerial meetings of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the Jerusalem issue, scheduled to take place in Istanbul on Wednesday. Several countries, namely Egypt and the United Arab Emirates will send only foreign ministers to the meeting, according to Cavusoglu, while Saudi Arabia and some others still have not decided how they would participate.
“Some countries in the Islamic world are in a state of fear. Who or what are you afraid of? If we do not protect Jerusalem today, when will we protect it? If we cannot defend Jerusalem, one of Islam’s three holy cities, what can we defend?” Cavusoglu stated.
Many non-Muslim countries, the EU and even Jews worldwide have expressed a far stronger rejection to the US move than some Muslim countries, Cavusoglu added. The minister vowed to make a bold statement at the OIC meeting and make the US to back off from the Jerusalem decision, urging those countries which have not recognized Palestine to do so.
On Sunday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan harshly criticized Israel, branding it a “terrorist state” while describing the Palestinians as its “victims.” Erdogan vowed to fight Trump’s decision and not “abandon” Jerusalem at the hands of a state which “kills children.”
The controversial move by the US president came last Wednesday, amid numerous warnings coming from world leaders against recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move was approved by the US Congress back in 1995, but all US Presidents since then have waived it.
The US decision effectively violated the UN resolutions on Palestine, which stated that the status of Jerusalem must be decided during reconciliation talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The resolutions explicitly prohibit establishing diplomatic facilities in the city before the peace agreement is brokered.
Trump’s move has triggered unrest among Palestinians, who believe that the city is under Israeli occupation, as well as mass demonstrations in a number of Muslim countries. Many other countries voiced concerns that the decision would only raise tensions in the Middle East, despite US claims that peace was still possible. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin branded Trump’s move “counterproductive” and “destabilizing.”
“We consider counterproductive any moves that pre-empt the result of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Putin said during a state visit to Egypt on Monday. “Such steps are destabilizing, and don’t help to resolve the situation, but instead provoke conflict.”