ISTANBUL (AP) – Leaders and high-ranking officials of Muslim countries will meet Wednesday in Istanbul for an extraordinary summit to discuss “repercussions” from the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation session aims to produce a “unified Islamic position.” The umbrella organization of 57-members called U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement last week an “illegal decision” and a “serious escalation.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan_OIC’s term president_has been vehemently critical of the U.S. move and said Monday the leaders would relay a “strong message.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun, Jordanian King Abdullah II and top ministers of numerous nations will be attending the session.
The holy city’s status is at the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict and significant for Palestinians and Muslims worldwide.
Most countries around the world have not recognized Israel’s 1967 annexation of east Jerusalem. Under a long-standing international consensus, the fate of the city is to be determined in negotiations.
Trump’s announcement, which includes a pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, was widely seen as siding with Israel.
Protests in Gaza and the West Bank turned violent last week. Demonstrations across the Muslim world displayed an outpour of anger against the U.S. and Israel.
The United Nations and numerous states have warned the U.S. decision could further escalate tensions. Even small crises over Jerusalem’s status and its holy sites have sparked deadly violence in the past.
The OIC convened another extraordinary meeting in Istanbul this August after Israel installed additional security measures at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The move led to protests and clashes until it was reversed.
Erdogan was meeting Abbas Tuesday evening in Istanbul ahead of the summit.