Turkey says Israeli statement about President Erdoğan ‘presumptuous’
ANKARAThe Turkish Foreign Ministry has condemned a statement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, calling the comments “presumptuous,” amid a row over an escalation in the al-Aqsa mosque.
“The responsibility that rests with Israel is to urgently make common sense prevail, go back to the status quo at Al-Haram Al-Sharif and lift all the restrictions on the freedom of worship.,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hüseyin Müftüoğlu said in a statement on July 26.
He said communities from several different religions and sects have lived peacefully for many centuries and freely performed their worship.
“At the Ottoman era, communities belonging to different religions and sects lived in peaceful co-existence and enjoyed freedom of worship for centuries. In this context, Jews would be expected to know best and appreciate the unique tolerance during the Ottoman era,” he said.
“Today, in the Republic of Turkey, freedom of faith and worship are also safeguarded by the state,” he added.
“As the Israeli occupation in East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza completed its 50th year, it is clear that the efforts to disregard the fact that East Jerusalem is under occupation will not contribute to the attainment of peace and stability in the region as well as the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” he said.
On July 25, Israel dismissed remarks by Erdoğan after he accused the country of taking away holy sites in Jerusalem from Muslims. The Israeli Foreign Ministry called Erdogan’s remarks “delusional, baseless and distorted.”
“He would do better to deal with the problems and difficulties in his country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon had said.
“The days of the Ottoman Empire are over,” Nahshon added.
“The capital of the Jewish people was, is and always will be Jerusalem. As opposed to the past, this is a city where the government is committed to its security, liberty, freedom of worship, and respect of the rights of all minorities.” he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, meanwhile, said “Erdoğan is the last one who can preach to Israel.”
The statements from Israel came after Erdoğan said Israel “is using the fight against terrorism as a pretext to take al-Aqsa mosque from the hands of Muslims.”
Israel had installed metal detectors at the entrances to the al-Aqsa mosque compound, holy to both Muslims and Jews, in response to a shooting by Palestinians that killed two police officers.
It removed the devices following a wave of Muslim outrage. It said they will be replaced with “advanced technology,” believed to be high resolution cameras.
Erdoğan said on July 26 that the removal of metal detectors was a right move but not enough.
“Israel’s step back from the metal detector implementation that offends Muslims is right but not enough,” Erdoğan said during an event to discuss higher education in the Islamic world at the presidential complex in Ankara.
He also urged abstaining from policies that would throw the region into the “ring of fire.”