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Turkey seeking EU, OIC mechanism to protect Jerusalem

Muslims perform the Friday Prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on 22 December 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey is working on building a joint diplomatic initiative to bring together the European Union and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in an effort to protect the status of Jerusalem in anticipation of the coming US embassy move to the holy city planned next month.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who has been serving as OIC president, is set to discuss Turkey’s proposal in Brussels today with the EU’s high representative for foreign and security policies, Federica Mogherini. He is expected to be joined by Palestine’s Foreign Minister Riyadh Malki and OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen.

Discussions are set to focus on the US Embassy move to Jerusalem on 14 May, which many fear is likely to fuel further tensions in Jerusalem. Trump’s decision to unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel late last year prompted violence on the streets as well as universal condemnation.

Read: Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital shatters the international consensus

Turkey is hoping to use universal opposition to finalise a settlement between the EU and the largest block of Muslim majority country’s to nullify Trump’s decision. Following the US’ decision, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been very vocal against Trump’s announcement, held an emergency OIC summit in Istanbul where East Jerusalem was declared the capital of Palestine.

While the EU and members of the OIC view a two-state solution – with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine – central to the resolution of the conflict, it’s not yet clear to what extent the two bodies will be able to neutralise the impact of Trump’s decision. While the 27 member union is opposed to settlement construction and denounced Trump’s move, individually some EU member states take a softer attitude towards the decision.

EUEurope & RussiaInternational OrganisationsIsraelMiddle EastNewsOICPalestineTurkey
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