President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday strongly criticized an Israeli raid on the eighth-century al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third most sacred site, and vowed to take the issue to the UN Security Council. Addressing reporters ahead of a visit to Turkmenistan, Erdoğan called Israel’s incursion barbaric and said Turkey will not remain silent.
Erdoğan also claimed that ulterior motives were behind the Israeli raid and said whenever the international community pays attention to other parts of the world — referring to recent conflicts in the Syrian cities of Kobani and Aleppo — a crisis like the one at the al-Aqsa mosque breaks out.
“I hope the Israeli government deals with this issue immediately and the al-Aqsa mosque is opened to all Muslims soon, or Israel will be left alone in the world like it is now in the [Middle East],” Erdoğan said The entrance of the holy site in Jerusalem was the scene of fierce clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians on Wednesday. Ankara said 35 extremist Jews, including several Israeli lawmakers, tried to forcibly enter the site.
Palestinian officials said Israeli forces had crossed the threshold of the mosque for the first time since 1967. Israeli police denied claims they entered the house of worship. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that it condemns the Israeli police’s indifference to the al-Aqsa mosque’s “spiritual values and sensitivities.” It added that the act added a new and much more serious dimension to Israeli provocations against Palestinians. Ankara stressed that Israel’s “shameful actions” violate basic human rights, including Muslims’ freedom to worship, and are absolutely unacceptable.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Wednesday also condemned the Israeli incursions on the compound, which is known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and houses the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Davutoğlu called it a “barbaric act” and vowed make necessary efforts to respond to Israeli actions on the international stage… see more