People wave flags of Turkey and Palestine during a rally in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 18, 2018. Over 200,000 Turks poured into the streets in Istanbul on Friday for a massive rally denouncing the killings of more than 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces during demonstrations against the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem early this week. (Xinhua/He Canling)
ISTANBUL, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Over 200,000 Turks poured into the streets in Istanbul on Friday for a massive rally denouncing the killings of more than 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces during demonstrations against the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem early this week.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and some delegates to an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) joined the rally at Yenikapi Square, where Turkish and Palestinian flags were waved by the crowd.
Addressing the rally, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah urged the world and Islamic countries to protect Jerusalem, whose status is a thorny issue in the long-running conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
"We should keep going on our way by preserving Jerusalem's own identity," said Hamdallah.
In his speech, Erdogan said that not only the Islamic world but the entire world has failed in the Jerusalem cause.
"Being a mere onlooker to Israel's all unfair, unlawful actions, the United Nations has tacitly become a party to this oppression," the president remarked, blaming the world body for not taking a resolute stance against Washington's embassy move.
"Jerusalem is not just a city. Jerusalem is a symbol, a test, a qibla," he stressed, calling on Israeli people to take action against "the disaster" that their government is dragging them into.
Turkey has, among others, recalled its ambassadors from Tel Aviv and Washington and called for an urgent OIC meeting in response to the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and the killings of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli forces on Monday.
During the rally in Istanbul, the crowd chanted slogans like "Palestine is not alone" and "We stand for Jerusalem," carrying banners that read, "The world is blind, the world is deaf."
"We came here to show our solidarity with our Palestinian brothers," said Kadir Akkaya. "We want to be the voice of Palestinians and make them heard by the world."
Abdullah Ozkan, another demonstrator, urged the world to condemn Israel in the strongest way possible.
"They should do whatever necessary to stop the violence of Israel and apply the international rules," he told Xinhua.
Another mass rally is slated for Sunday in Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey.
Turkey is hoping for the OIC meeting to produce a joint action against Israel's use of deadly force against unarmed Palestinians.