Turkey: Maduro appears as surprise guest at OIC summit on Jerusalem

ISTANBUL – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appeared as surprise guest at the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on Wednesday, according to Daily Sabah.

The socialist president, before leaving for the OIC meeting, his trip was aimed “to evaluate everything that has to do with the solidarity for the Arab people of Palestine” facing “aggression of the imperialist government,” referring to the U.S.

The session is convened by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.

Venezuela joined overwhelming majority of the countries in the world, including Chile, in rejecting Trump’s decision on Jerusalem.

Trump’s announcement was met with widespread condemnation and sparked protests across the Muslim world, including Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, and Indonesia.

Jerusalem is Palestine, Chilean protesters to Trump

Addressing the Wednesday’s summit, President Erdogan said the US decision to recognize the city as Israel’s capital was “null and void”. He urged leaders of Muslim nations to recognize Jerusalem as the “occupied capital of the Palestinian state”.

He also again accused Israel of being a “state of terror”.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the U.S. 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.

The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.

Israel occupied the sector, previously occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognized internationally, and all countries currently maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. However, Trump has announced that the U.S. will eventually move its embassy.