Turkey trying to capitalize on Jerusalem-related development, expert

Turkey is hosting the Organization for Islamic Co-operation. Leaders of the Islamic nations have come together to try and forge a united stance against US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Addressing the summit Turkey’s President Regep Tayyip Erdogan urged leaders of Muslim nations to recognize Jerusalem as the “occupied capital of the Palestinian state”.

He said the US decision to recognize the city as Israel’s capital was “null and void.” Erdogan also again accused Israel of being a “state of terror”.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the US had “disqualified itself from playing a role in the peace process”.

“We shall not accept any role for the United States in the peace process. They have proven their full bias in favor of Israel,” he told the summit.

Expert of Iranian studies Armen Iskandaryan says Turkey is trying to use the situation to strengthen its role in the region. He also sees increased rivalry between Turkey and Iran against the background of recent developments.

“Iran, as an Islamic state and an important member of the Organization for Islamic Co-operation, cannot stay apart from the processes aimed at protecting the interests of the Islamic world,” Iskandaryan said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia.

“This is a priority of Iran’s foreign policy and the latter is using every opportunity to raise the issue at any international conference. Therefore this is a good opportunity for Iran to indirectly criticize the Arabic and Muslim states, which have long been harming the interest of the Islamic world, e.g. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Azerbaijan,” he said.

The expert noted that “while it could seem that Turkey and Iran have similar approaches towards the Jerusalem issue, Turkey is trying to use this situation to assume a leading role in the region.”

He said, however, that only after the joint declaration to be adopted upon the conclusion of the summit will it be possible to conclude whether the meeting was formal, to understand the interests every country was pursuing.

Iskandaryan said of special interest is the stance of Azerbaijan, considering that Baku has close relations with the two countries with opposing positions.

Addressing the summit, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said “the only reason Donald Trump “dared” recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was because some in the region sought to establish ties to Israel.

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