By Nilay Kar Onum and Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
Istanbul will host an extraordinary summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday in the wake of U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The summit follows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call on OIC member countries to gather extraordinarily after the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement last week was followed by worldwide opposition.
Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a future state.
During his election campaign last year, Trump repeatedly promised to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, in a televised interview, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the OIC will send a “strong message” to the U.S. and Israel.
High-ranking officials from 48 countries, 18 of which are sending presidents and prime ministers, will attend the summit.
The presidents from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Palestine, Guinea, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia, Togo, Jordan and Yemen as well as the premiers from Djibouti, Malaysia and Pakistan will attend the extraordinary summit.
The Comoros will send the secretary of state in charge of cooperation with the Arab world, while Oman will send their deputy prime minister.
The parliament speakers of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will also attend the summit.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will also attend as observers.
Muslim leaders will discuss “the move in a unified and coordinated manner in the face of these developments affecting the occupied city of Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and its historical, legal and political status”, according to the official website of the organization.
The organization has condemned Trump's decision several times, saying "the decision does not only threaten the Arab and Islamic identity of Al-Quds, but also the Christian identity of the city, stressing Muslims’ eternal attachment to Al-Aqsa Mosque and the centrality of the cause of Al-Quds to the Islamic Ummah."
A final communique is expected to be released following the meeting.