Turkey: US decision to open embassy in Jerusalem damaging peace

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. (AP)
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A United States flag flies over a complex belonging to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, January 22, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 24 February 2018
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Turkey: US decision to open embassy in Jerusalem damaging peace

ANKARA: Turkey on Saturday described as “extremely worrying” the US move to open its embassy in Jerusalem in May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
Friday’s announcement by Washington to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city follows US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.
“This decision shows the US administration’s insistence on damaging the grounds for peace by trampling over international law, resolutions of UN Security Council on Jerusalem,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Turkey will continue its effort to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian public ... against this extremely worrying decision by the US,” the ministry added.
Ankara said the decision showed the US does not hear, “and worse still, does not care about the voice of the international community’s conscience.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led condemnation of the ruling in December and called an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit of the leaders of Muslim nations in Istanbul shortly after Trump’s announcement last year.
The leaders urged the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after it seized control of the area in the 1967 war, but the move has never been recognized by the international community.
Jerusalem is a city considered holy by Christians, Jews and Muslims and is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Palestinian leadership on Friday said the US move, a year earlier than originally expected, was “a provocation to Arabs.”
The founding of Israel on May 14, 1948 is mourned by Palestinians as the Nakba, or “catastrophe” when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians either fled or were expelled from their homes in the war surrounding Israel’s creation.
Relations between Turkey and the US have already been strained over multiple issues including Ankara’s latest offensive in Syria against a US-backed Kurdish militia.
Although Erdogan has frequently criticized Israel’s policies, the two sides increased cooperation following the end of a rift in 2016 caused by Israel’s storming in 2010 of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead.


ISESCO condemns Houthi looting of artifacts from Zabid

Updated 33 min 6 sec ago
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ISESCO condemns Houthi looting of artifacts from Zabid

ISESCO condemns Houthi looting of artifacts from Zabid

DUBAI: The Islamic Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization condemned Sunday the Houthis’ theft of manuscripts, historical and scientific books and artifacts from the library of a fortress in Zabid, the Saudi Press Agency said.

Zabid is one of the oldest towns in Yemen, located in Hodeidah province, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.

The stolen items were valuable artifacts of Zabid, which was the capital of Yemen during the 13th and 15th centuries, and the theft of such heritage was a criminal act against the Yemeni civilizations and a violation of international declarations and agreements, ISESCO director general Abdulaziz bin Othaman Al-Twajairi said.