Turkey urges Muslim states to stand up against Israel

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Turkey urges Muslim states to stand up against Israel

Turkey's foreign minister appealed Monday to Muslim nations to speak out strongly against Israeli policies against Palestinians. 

Those who refrain from raising their voice against Israel cannot defend Jerusalem, said Mevlut Cavusoglu at an election campaign event in southern Hatay province.

"We see that those Muslim countries which get afraid of the U.S. and Israel start faltering. There are even some countries pressuring Palestine 'not to raise their voice too much'. Are these the ones to defend Jerusalem?" said Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu also said that the same countries acted "cowardly" when voting against the U.S. and Israel at various Islamic summits and UN General Assembly meetings in the last two years.

Cavusoglu said Turkey was struggling against many threats including terrorism, adding that the stability and peace in Syria were important for Turkish border cities like Hatay.

In December 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump sparked international outrage when he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and vowed to relocate Washington's embassy to the city. 

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as Israel’s “eternal undivided capital” -- a move never recognized by the international community. 

International law views the entire West Bank as “occupied territory” and considers all Israeli settlement building there as illegal.

Later visiting a refugee camp in Yayladagi, Cavusoglu vowed to stand up with Syria's Bayirbucak Turkmen population.

"When Syria is stabilized, our [Syrian] brothers and sisters, including Bayirbucak Turkmens, will return to their homes in peace."

The Turkish foreign minister said Turkey was exerting every effort to find a lasting solution in Syria.

"We will clear east of the Euphrates River from terrorists, there is no other alternative or option."