Turkey wants to mobilize Muslim nations over Palestinian cause

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 16 May 2018
Turkey wants to mobilize Muslim nations over Palestinian cause

After the U.S. relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14, the further turmoil in the Middle East is foregone conclusion and will claim new victims. Many countries describe Washington’s decision "illogical" and "reckless" as it reflects Donald Trump's "desperation to fulfil his campaign promises" ahead of his re-election bid.

Now when the embassy relocation is over and the Israeli government’s next target is to persuade new nations to move their embassies to Jerusalem to make the process irreversible and gradually realize turning it into Israelis indivisible capital.

Turkey ramps up pressure

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has urged the world’s over 1.5bn Muslims to “band together” over the Palestinian cause after more than 60 people were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza.

“There has never been an incident when the UN was so helpless,” Yildirim said in Ankara, referring to the recent violence in Gaza.

Turkey declared three-day mourning across the country and invited his counterparts from five countries to join an emergency summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the killings of Palestinians at the Gaza border.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border on Monday to take part in mass rallies to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment - an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "the Catastrophe" and to protest the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Since the border rallies began on March 30, more than 100 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by cross-border Israeli gunfire. Last week, the Israeli government said the ongoing border protests constituted a “state of war” in which international humanitarian law did not apply.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday told Israel's consul general in Istanbul Yosef Levi Sfari to leave the country "for a while". According to diplomatic sources speaking on condition of anonymity, the ministry told Sfari to leave following indiscriminate violence and killings by Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border.

Turkey’s consul general in Jerusalem was summoned by the Israeli Foreign Ministry on Tuesday and also asked to leave the country for an indefinite period of time. In a statement issued by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Gurcan Turkoglu was summoned and asked to return to his country, considering latest development on bilateral relation between Jerusalem and Ankara.

Solidarity protest with Palestine in London

Britain called for independent and transparent investigation into the bloodiest event of May 14 in the Gaza Strip. British Prime Minister Theresa May, speaking at a press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called for an “independent and transparent” investigation into the loss of life in Gaza and the use of live rounds by Israeli forces.

Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday outside the British prime minister’s Downing Street office in London to protest the killing of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by Israeli forces. At the emergency demonstration called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Palestinians and activists urged the UK government to condemn the killings.

“Gaza, stop the massacre”, “End the siege”, and “Stop Israeli state slaughter,” read some of the placards held by protesters. The demonstration in London followed a vigil held at Parliament Square for those who lost their lives in Gaza, which some MPs also joined.

“The siege needs to come to an end! There will never be peace until refugees can go home. There will never be peace without Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.”

“The brutality of the Israeli Army has been laid bare for all to see. We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, but words alone are not enough,” Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard said at the demonstration.

The international community cannot continue to stand idly by. Israel must be held to account for its illegal actions. Sinn Fein calls on the Irish government to take a lead internationally on this. There can be no impunity for barbaric state violence directed at peaceful protests, he concluded.

Similar protests were held in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.

China against U.S. policies

China has denounced the move of the embassy and warned about more protests, and the Beijing-based The Global Times newspaper comparing the relocation to "opening a Pandora's box".

On May 15, the U.S. officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by opening a new US embassy there, sparking violence between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters.

"Why did he do this? The logic does not seem very clear," it wonders, and adds: "The relocation of the US embassy is bound to anger the Palestinians and stir dissatisfaction among the general public in the Arab world, and Palestine may well see a third intifada, or uprising. Washington seems to be asking for trouble," the newspaper said.

The official news agency Xinhua in an analysis on May 14 said that the embassy relocation will be a "new destabilizing factor which will increase the chaos in the Middle East". The article quotes an expert as saying that the relocation shows that the Trump administration's decisions are going to be "based on the sole pursuit of U.S. self-interest and nobody else's".

The Global Times also says Trump's "power worship" was behind the relocation as well as his "ruthless" trade war with China. "Trump has shown his belief in the strength of the U.S... a strength that he can use to forcibly create new realities," it said. However, while "Washington is acting tough but meanwhile its global battlefront is shrinking," the newspaper says.

"The world will fall into new chaos… just as trade between China and the U.S. originally operated under the framework of the WTO, once the U.S. felt that it was at a disadvantage it made an about-turn and suddenly demanded concessions from China that are not based on any regulations," it adds.

The Global Times sums it up by saying: "The Chinese must be clear that strength is all that matters to Washington in future negotiations. Rules and morality will be respected only if beneficial to the U.S. Otherwise they will be abandoned."