The Jerusalem strategy must change. Will Vatican and the EU come into play?

The process starting after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is not over. In fact, Turkey’s profoundly successful diplomacy moves regarding this issue have not been completed yet.

There is more to the historic decisions that were taken by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and at the United Nations General Assembly thanks to Turkey. There must be.

The US has taken a side, so who will be the new referee?

After the Palestinian side openly announced that the U.S. has taken a side in the Israel-Palestine issue and expressed that it cannot be a mediator anymore in peace talks, everybody left the table. Turkey too agrees that the U.S. cannot be a mediator in peace talks anymore.

Then what will happen?

As all the Muslim countries recognized East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital and 128 countries found what Israel and the U.S. did as clearly “unacceptable” at the General Assembly of the UN, it was in a way announced that the process from now on would be a chaotic one.

While the U.S. and Israel is trying to take revenge of this hard slap by cutting aid, committing more violence in Palestine and uttering threats, the Muslim world has not responded to this yet.

Turkey’s strategy in Erdoğan’s visit to the Vatican

President Erdogan’s visit to the Vatican is of great importance in this regard. Turkey intends to have the Vatican come into play as the representative of the Christian world and the EU as the representative of Europe. 

Erdogan wants the EU to come into play as a referee in place of the U.S. in the Israel-Palestine peace talks.

This has extremely rational and realpolitik reasons. Let’s line them up:

The Jerusalem problem is a problem not only for Muslims but also for Christians and non-Zionist Jews. They too complain about isolation, destruction, extortion and oppression polices implemented in the city by Israel. Although the Vatican has carried out crusades to save Jerusalem throughout its history, it hasn’t said a word in the period when it was under Israel’s occupation. Do not pay attention to this because it is known that the Vatican and the entire Christian world are disturbed by this. Therefore, making Vatican as one of the parties to the solution process of the Jerusalem problem is important.

2.      The EU is having serious problems with the U.S. There are mutual expressions and showdowns which might bring especially economic relations to a breaking point. It is understood from their every move that two main pillars of the EU - France and Germany - are harboring a growing anger toward the U.S. That is why they voted against Israel and the U.S. at the UN General Assembly. As you might understand, the groundwork to make the EU a party to the Israel-Palestine peace talks is ready. In this regard, Turkey and other Muslim countries should make more effort so that the EU can show courage and adopt a stance. 

3. Even though the U.K. has left the EU, it is still a significant player. It is not in a good place with the U.S. either. In fact, they sting each other with covert operations. Let’s not forget that Trump has not visited the U.K. yet and taken up an attitude against it.

Rapport between Turkey and the U.K. is of importance in this regard. Both complain about how they being targeted by their once-most significant ally. A mechanism to include the UK in the Jerusalem issue should be established.

4. It does not seem possible that Russia will play an active role in the Jerusalem issue. It must think that Israel will seriously damage the security of Syria, the existence of Russia there and its relations with Iran. I think the relations between Israel and Russia are in the phase of “cautious optimism.”

We have to change the Jerusalem strategy

In fact, the entire strategy should be formulated to make Jerusalem a problem concerning not only Muslims. It is sad but true that as Muslims, we cannot solve this problem by ourselves.

Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE will not stand by Turkey and Jerusalem in this process. Let’s not forget that. However, as it happened at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, they might be forced to stand with us with public pressure. Because the public in those countries are very sensitive about the issue of Jerusalem.

Although it is difficult to accept, we have to change our Jerusalem strategy.

Let’s see what kind of results Erdogan’s visit to the Vatican will bear.

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