Erdoğan slams attack on Neve Shalom synagogue, threats against Jews in Istanbul
ISTANBULPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan harshly slammed the attack on the Neve Shalom synagogue by an ultra-nationalist group. The group had claimed the protest was a response to the restrictions on the al-Aqsa mosque.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport before heading to Saudi Arabia on July 23, Erdoğan said rights violations in Jerusalem may never be grounds for Muslims to violate the rights of others.
“We are members of a deeply rooted civilization that has provided peaceful coexistence to all religions, especially Jerusalem, for centuries. The violations of rights in Jerusalem should never be a reason for Muslims to violate the rights of others. Reactions must be measured in the framework of the law,” he said.
Erdoğan also highlighted the importance of freedom of worship.
“To harm the freedom of worship of those who are members of other religions and their place of worship has no place in our society. Based on this understanding, we are putting forth efforts to ease the tensions in Jerusalem at once and for peace to return around Masjid al-Aqsa once again,” he added.
His remarks came after the Alperen Hearths, an ultra-nationalist youth organization linked to the right-wing nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), gathered in front of the Neve Shalom synagogue and kicked and threw rocks at the building on July 20.
The setting up of metal detectors at the entrances of the al-Aqsa mosque has led to a wave of anger among Palestinians, who called for the immediate removal of the devices.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also criticized the synagogue protest, calling for restraint.
“We are inheritors of a civilization that regards differences as richness without discriminating against religion, sect, language and race. For this reason, we do not approve of the actions against the worship of our Jewish citizens, we call on our citizens to practice self-restraint,” he said on the Prime Ministry’s official Twitter account.
The Turkish Jewish Society of the Turkish Chief Rabbinate Foundation previously condemned the protest at the synagogue via its official Twitter account.
“We condemn the provocative demonstration in front of our Neve Shalom synagogue tonight and we expect the relevant authorities will do what is necessary,” said the statement.
The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul deputy Garo Paylan brought the attack on the synagogue to the Turkish parliament’s agenda.
“How and why has a law enforcement officer guarding the worship center for 24 hours not prevented this attack?” asked Paylan.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Selina Doğan also slammed the protest via her official Twitter account.
“It is primal to compare the Israeli state to a religious sanctuary of the Jewish community in Turkey. We condemn it,” she posted.