Turkey Current Affairs

Emergency Summit of OIC held in Istanbul to discuss Israel-Palestine violence

The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held extraordinary summit in Istanbul, Turkey to discuss recent Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters in Gaza Strip. The summit was convened at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It condemned massacre of Peaceful Palestinian civilian protestors by the Israeli forces as well as on the official opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem in defiance of international law, UN Security Council (UNSC) and General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution.

Background

Recently violent protests were held in Gaza which coincided with Israel’s 70th anniversary – an event Palestinians refer to as Nakba or “Catastrophe” and relocation of the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In these protests more than 100 palestinian protesters were killed by Israeli security forces deployed along the other side of the border. Turkey had responded to the violence by asking Israeli ambassador to leave the country, while also recalling its ambassadors to US and Israel for consultations.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

OIC is international organization that aims to provide collective voice to Muslim world and safeguard and protect interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony. It was established in 1969 and has administrative centre (headquarters) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

OIC consists of 57 member states spread over four continents with collective population of over 1.3 billion as of 2009 with 47 countries being Muslim Majority countries. It has permanent delegations to United Nations and the European Union. Its official languages are Arabic, English, and French. It is second largest inter-governmental organization after UN.

Issues with India: In this organisation, India is a blocked country, though it second largest country (after Indonesia) in terms of Muslim population (It has about 12% of the world’s Muslim population). India has been blocked by Pakistan from joining the OIC over Kashmir issue. OIC regard parts of Kashmir as “occupied by India”.

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Russia, Turkey and Iran Sign Deal on Safe Zones in Syria

Russia and Iran which are allies of the Syrian regime as well as the rebel supporter Turkey signed a Russia-backed plan for creating safe zones in Syria. The pact which was signed in the Kazakh capital Astana was meant to halt fighting in the war-torn Syria. However, the Syrian government and rebel delegations were not signatories to the agreement. Russia-backed plan to create safe zones in Syria is targeted at further pacification and cessation of hostilities and a halt in fighting in the zones.

Salient Highlights

As per the plan, the zones were set to remain in place for six months. The time period could eventually be extended. The zones would cover the whole of Idlib province, portions of the Latakia, Aleppo, Hama and Homs provinces, parts of the Deraa and Quneitra provinces, as well as the Ghouta suburb of Damascus.

As per the memorandum, there will be a halt in the usage of all categories of arms among belligerents, including aerial weapons.

The major objective of the memorandum is to halt the violence and facilitate conditions for the safe, voluntary return of refugees as well as to provide rapid and uninterrupted delivery of relief supplies and medical aid.

However, the ways to monitor and police the safe zones are not clearly spelt out. Russia has stated that ways to monitor the zones would be an issue for separate talks.

Background

Russia-backed plan has to be viewed at the backdrop of US President Donald Trump’s call for the establishment of safe zones in Syria.

The Syrian conflict is six years old. It has been estimated that more than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the war began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

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