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Shahid Khaqan attending Istanbul summit

19 May, 2018

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ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday hosts Muslim leaders for an Istanbul summit to condemn Israel over the killing of Gaza protesters, seeking to bridge divisions with the Islamic world and issue a strong message.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also landed in the Turkish capital to attend the extraordinary summit of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Foreign Minister Khurram Dastgir and other senior officials accompanied the prime minister.

Pakistan has called for an independent and transparent investigation of violence in Gaza. While condemning the human rights violations by the occupying Israeli force, PM Abbasi is likely to reiterate support of the people and government of Pakistan for the establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous state of Palestine.

Erdogan has reacted with unbridled fury to the killing by Israeli forces on Monday of 60 Palestinians on the Gaza border, accusing Israel of “genocide” and being run as an “apartheid state”.

Meanwhile, thousands of people massed in Istanbul for a rally called by the Turkish president to show solidarity with the Palestinians and condemn Israel after its deadly shootings of Gaza protesters, an AFP correspondent said.

Large crowds thronged the massive Yenikapi meeting area on the shores of the sea of Marmara under the slogan “Curse the oppression, support Jerusalem”, ahead of an address by Erdogan.

Demonstrators held Palestinian and Turkish flags and brandished slogans like “Jerusalem is our red line”. Some of the leaders and ministers set to attend the summit were also present at the rally, including Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah.

“We are calling on the world and say ‘Israel, America and Zionism, you all dragged humanity into chaos’,” said protestor Levent Ayaz.

“With God’s permission, Jerusalem belongs to us and is the capital of Islam as long as this ummah (Islamic community) exists,” he added. “There is no political view here, there is no right, there’s no left,” said fellow demonstrator Recep Kerven.

“The only reason we are here is to support our (Palestinian) brothers. That’s a message delivered to the entire world.”

Erdogan already staged an extraordinary meeting of the OIC in December last year to denounce US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“We must give the toughest response … to the crime against humanity committed by Israel,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a meeting of OIC foreign ministers ahead of the summit.

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