"Unfortunately, we see a Jerusalem that is under the occupation of Zionism, as well as Israel's violation of international law," said Numan Kurtulmus. "But it is also important that the Islamic world needs to look at itself as well."

Speaking at a conference in Istanbul on Jerusalem in the Ottoman era, Kurtulmus said that over the last decade, no Muslim country has made Jerusalem a top issue, partially as a result of the conflicts plaguing Muslim regions.

But now Jerusalem’s importance for the Muslim world is growing, he added.

It was the policies and governments of Islamic nations that put Jerusalem on the back burner, not their peoples.

"Humanity needs to learn lessons from Pax Ottomana," Kurtulmus said, referring to the centuries of peace in the Middle East under Ottoman rule.

"How will adjust the peace criteria of those times for today's world? Unfortunately, Europe cannot even tolerate several million refugees."

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as Israel’s “eternal” capital -- a move never recognized by the international community.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territory" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land illegal.

Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to "Judaize" the historic city with the aim of erasing its Arab and Islamic identity and driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.

Kurtulmus also stressed how some 1,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons are now on hunger strikes.

The Israelis “are trying to end the hunger strikes with every kind of torture and pressure," he said. "These Palestinians are spiritually offended."

Anadolu Agency