By Sefa Mutlu and Zehra Melek Cat
Thousands of people flocked to Istanbul’s Yenikapi Square on Sunday, protesting the U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Palestinian ambassador to Ankara Faed Mustafa was among the protestors. Speaking at the rally, Mustafa said: “The peace can never be prevailed without independence of Palestine and Palestine cannot be an independent state without Jerusalem as its capital.”
He went on to say Jerusalem was not the capital of Israel. “It is sacred land on the earth. Israel occupied it forcibly.
Women and men of all ages, student groups, and families came together to show solidarity with Palestinians in the rally titled -- Jerusalem belongs to Islam -- organized by Felicity party.
Speaking at the rally, the Chairman of Felicity Party Temel Karamollaoglu described Jerusalem cause as the "biggest Jihad of the Muslims".
"Today Jerusalem is not just a city, a place, and a sacred city. It is [also] a symbol of cause, [and] resistance," said Karamollaoglu.
In his remarks, he urged all Muslim countries to declare Jerusalem as Palestine's capital and cut their economic, military and diplomatic relations with Israel.
"An independent Palestinian state with the capital of Jerusalem will be founded sooner or later," Karamollaoglu added.
Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-Is), Humanitarian relief Foundation (IHH), Confederation of Public Servants Trade Unions (Memur-Sen), Turkish Youth and Education Service Foundation (TURGEV), Association of Anatolian Businessmen (ASKON), Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD), the Alumni Association of Imam Hatip High Schools (ONDER) and Deniz Feneri relief Association and other non-governmental organizations participated in the rally.
Waving flags of Turkey and Palestine, the demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Hail to Hamas, carry on resistance” and “Thousand greetings from Istanbul to Gaza resistance.”
Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh also sent a voice message to the rally, saying Jerusalem is an issue not just for the Palestinians, but for all Muslims in the world and even for the Christians and for those who want to live freely.
"We never recognize an Israeli state with Jerusalem as its capital.
"Jerusalem is an Islamic land. Jerusalem is the honor and dignity of all Muslims and Muslims will protect their honor, and dignity," Haniyeh said.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital and said the U.S. Embassy would relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem policy triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq and other Muslim countries.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.