Big rally held in Istanbul in protest at Israel’s Al-Aqsa move
AA photoA mass rally was held at Istanbul’s Yenikapı Square on July 30 to condemn the recent Israeli restrictions on Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on July 30.
“The Great Jerusalem Rally,” organized under the leadership of the Islamist conservative Felicity Party (SP), was attended by representatives of a number of non-governmental organizations and political parties, including main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul lawmakers Mahmut Tanal and İlhan Kesici.
Other than the CHP, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers from the northwestern province of Kocaeli, Sami Çakır and Cemil Yaman, were also present.
Dozens of representatives from civil society organizations including the Anatolian Youth Foundation (AGD), the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH), and the Yedi Hilal Foundation, gathered at the square.
Hamas’ Turkey representative Cihat Yağmur and Muslim Brotherhood representative Saadet Burhanettin were present, while former Turkish President Abdullah Gül also sent a message to the rally.
Protesters at the rally chanted anti-Israel and pro-Palestine slogans, including those supporting Hamas, carrying both Turkish and Palestine flags in support of their fellow Muslims.
Speaking at the rally, SP leader Temel Karamollaoğlu said “the voice of Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem is in this square,” adding that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was watching the rally.
“His legs are shaking with fear. He looks at this area from the screens and feels deep fear. The heart of 80 million people is here. You have become the hope of the oppressed once again,” Karamollaoğlu said, adding that peace “can never be established with Israel.”
“No negotiations can be carried out with Israel. Peace cannot be established and one cannot walk with them,” he added.
During his speech, crowds opened a banner reading “Muslims Unite.”
Karamollaoğlu also slammed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for being “weak” on the issue of Jerusalem.
“It has 57 members. The world’s richest resources are in these countries. The world’s youngest population is also in these countries. Israel shouldn’t have been able to move so freely when we have all this richness,” he added, calling on all Muslim countries to cut their ties with Israel.
“If your power is insufficient to take steps, at least cut your ties with this oppressor Israel. Cut your diplomatic ties until Israel withdraws from all the territories it occupies,” Karamollaoğlu said.
Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh also addressed the crowds via video conference, saying that “Jerusalem and al-Aqsa belong to Muslims.”
The gathering was the latest in a series of demonstrations held across Turkey over the last week following recent restrictions Israel placed on Palestinians entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque, prompting angry clashes in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Muslims refused to enter the mosque and prayed on the streets surrounding the mosque compound in protest at the installation of metal detectors.
Israel, after facing international condemnation, removed the detectors on July 28.
Palestinians on July 29 took to the streets and rushed into Al-Aqsa to celebrate the removal of detectors.