It is time to show unity and determination for Palestine, and Turkey is ready to take any necessary step, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu at an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on May 16.
At the virtual meeting to discuss Israel’s attacks on Palestine, Çavuşoğlu said that Israel also targeted members of the press and that half of those who lost their lives in Gaza were women and children.
The minister said that the international community has a duty to protect Palestinian civilians, and the OIC has a great responsibility in this context.
He also touched on the importance of international protection mechanisms for Palestinian civilians in line with a 2018 UN General Assembly resolution.
Stating that this mechanism can be established with the financial and military contributions of volunteer countries, Çavuşoğlu also stated that the Israeli political and military officials who have been found guilty of violating Palestinians’ rights should be held responsible.
He added that in this context, the International Criminal Court has a special role.
Noting that efforts to normalize ties with Israel have emboldened it, he said: "We should stand for justice and humanity. There should be no other considerations. This is time to show our unity and decisiveness. The ummah [Muslim community] expects our leadership and courage, and Turkey is ready to take whatever action is necessary."
Tensions have been running high in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as Israeli forces and settlers assaulted Palestinians.
The tensions spread from East Jerusalem to Gaza after Palestinian groups there vowed to retaliate against Israeli assaults on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah if they were not halted.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.