12/13/2017, 09.34
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Jerusalem capital, Erdogan leads the Islamic uprising against Israel

An extraordinary OIC summit is scheduled today in Istanbul, at the request of current president Turkey. Ankara's goal is to promote a common front in response to the controversial US decision. The Turkish leader stands as a new "defender of the Palestinian cause". But divisions and contrasts remain within the organization.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is today presiding over an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), scheduled in Istanbul in the presence of 57 Heads of State and Government of Muslim countries. The summit was convened at the request of Ankara as the current president, to respond with a "strong message" to the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to arrange the transfer of the embassy.

The controversial US decision has raised protests and indignation - with dead and wounded - in the region and also concerns Pope Francis, who invoked respect for the status quo, as well as the Christian leaders of the Middle East. Three days ago, the Holy See confirmed "attention and concern" for the holy city and peace in the disputed area.

This morning, when the extraordinary summit was opened, Turkey turned to the international community, inviting it to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. Erdogan's goal - which aspires to the role of "defender of the Palestinian cause" - is to unite an often divided and fragmented Muslim front, reaching a common final declaration against the US turning point. He called Israel a "terrorist state" and called for a harsh response against the Jewish leadership, which continues to "throw fuel on the fire".

However, analysts and experts point out that aligning positions between the different realities that make up the Muslim community - including the historical rivals Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shiite) - will not be a simple task. Aaron Stein, a researcher at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, is convinced that Muslim leaders will end up issuing a "  a boiler-plate condemnation".

Several nations that make up the OIC including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates do not want to jeopardize their relations [economic and non] with the United States and Israel, in an anti-Iranian key, for a joint note at the conclusion of a summit. Sinan Ulgen, from the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies in Istanbul, believes that the meeting will end with nothing and there will be no substantial steps against Washington's moves.

Introducing the summit, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the gathering intends to send "a strong message" to the international community. He added, however, that some Islamic countries are "fearful" and do not intend to follow the hard line adopted by Ankara.

Among the heads of state and government present are Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Lebanese President Michel Aoun. Added to these is the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmud Abbas, the most interested in the success of the meeting. On the other hand, the Saudi representation does not seem to be composed of prominent personalities.

So far, Arab nations have issued formal declarations of condemnation against the United States and Israel, without applying punitive economic or commercial measures or diplomatic retaliation.

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