Turkey calls on Muslims to take clear stance over Gaza


Smoke rises as a tower building collapses after it was hit by Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Muslim countries must show a united and clear stance over Israel's conflict with the Islamist Hamas movement in Gaza, Turkey's vice president, Fuat Oktay, said on Thursday, criticising world powers for condemning violence without acting.

"What we desire is that active measures are taken," Oktay told reporters after morning prayers marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

"There are decisions taken repeatedly at the United Nations, there are condemnations. But unfortunately no result has been obtained, because a clear stance is not displayed."

In several days of conflict, Hamas has fired volleys of rockets towards Israeli cities and Israel has launched air strikes against the Islamist faction in the Gaza Strip.

At least 67 people have been killed in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday, according to the enclave's health ministry. Seven people have been killed in Israel, medical officials said.

With the conflict beginning to resemble the Gaza war of 2014, world powers have demanded de-escalation and the United States said it planned to send an envoy for talks with Israel and Palestinians.

Turkey's president, Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly condemned Israel's occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians, said on Saturday Israel was a "terror state" after Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at Palestinian protesters at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque.

Oktay said Muslims had a responsibility to act.

"Everyone who does not display a clear stance against this are a party to this torment," Oktay said. "Unfortunately, when we look at the Muslim countries that do not display this unity and togetherness, everyone there who do not display a clear stance is a party to this."

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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