Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu used today’s Extraordinary Summit of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) in Istanbul to speak out about his frustration at Muslim states for their “insufficient” response to the plight of both Turkish Cypriots and the Palestinian people.
The Summit, called by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss the OIC’s stance on US President Trump’s recent decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, was attended by Foreign Ministers and Heads of States and Governments from OIC countries. Foreign Minister (FM) Ertuğruloğlu was attending on behalf of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is an observer member of the OIC.
During the event, Ertuğruloğlu gave a speech to the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers and representatives of observer member states. In his address, the TRNC Foreign Minister stated that “President Trump’s decision on the Jerusalem issue will neither benefit those who took the decision, nor will it benefit those who expect to gain from the decision. Reversing the decision immediately is what will bring prosperity to the region.”
The TRNC FM started his speech by thanking the Turkish President: “I would like to express my gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for his decision to hold this important meeting as the incumbent president of the OIC.”
He stated that, “The world is living in a period in which politics is above the law” and highlighted the growing risks to the region because of the way politics was being used in Jerusalem: “When politics comes into play over the holy city of Jerusalem, which is a place of significance for three world religions, the fear is that tensions in the region may evolve into a larger conflict.”
Ertuğruloğlu continued: “It is therefore surprising that both Muslim and Christian societies remain silent on this matter. The Jerusalem issue cannot be presented solely as a political question – it is both a religious and an existential issue for Muslims. However, on this matter of vital importance, the response of Muslim states has been insufficient – representatives of Muslim countries have not done justice to the gravity of this situation.”
“The same frustration that Muslim states have caused for us [Turkish Cypriots] in our own struggle for existence has unfortunately manifested itself in Jerusalem”
“I speak as the Minister of Foreign Affairs for a state which is currently struggling for its own existence and recognition in this region. The same frustration that Muslim states have caused for us in our own struggle for existence has unfortunately manifested itself in Jerusalem. This disregard does not make anyone stronger. I did not expect this. However, this stance has unfortunately been seen in Jerusalem.”
“This land is shared by everyone in the world who says ’I am a Muslim. This is something that all Muslims should honour.”
The Turkish Cypriot politician was emphatic in his claims that “Turkey is the only country in the Islamic World”, and its President, “the only leader who is engaging with this struggle fearlessly and sincerely” adding that “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s sincere efforts will be recorded in the annals of history”.
He called on Islamic countries to “develop a real, sincere and collective solution in practice for our shared problems”, and stressed that external interventions by others in Muslim communities “will not solve any problems – on the contrary, they will only exacerbate them.” The TRNC FM also said the tensions in Jerusalem could “create fresh opportunities for the rise of terrorist organisations”.
Before concluding his talk, FM Ertuğruloğlu reiterated his desire for the American President to withdraw his decision on Jerusalem: “I want to stress once again that US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is unacceptable, and I reiterate my request for the reversal of this decision.”
Following the convening of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, the Extraordinary Summit was due to continue with further meetings between OIC Heads of State and Government. FM Ertuğruloğlu attended a luncheon hosted by Turkish President Erdoğan in honour of the leaders present. The Minister was accompanied to Istanbul by TRNC Foreign Ministry General Director Kemal Köprülü. They are expected to return to the island today.