Erdoğan urges international community to immediately act to end restrictions at Al-Aqsa
ISTANBUL - Anadolu AgencyTurkey’s President Erdoğan on July 22 called for an immediate end to Israel’s new restrictions at the compound of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
"Metal detectors and other restrictions should be immediately lifted and returned to the status quo. Everyone should be guard against provocations at this sensitive time," Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a written statement.
“As the summit term president of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC], I call for the international community to act to immediate end practices that restrict freedom of worship.”
Erdoğan said that Israel shutting down the Al-Aqsa compound last week for three days, and then imposing new restrictions -- including placing metal detectors at the entrance -- and citing the deadly July 14 shootout to justify this, is "unacceptable."
"As OIC Term President, I condemn Israeli forces’ use of excess force on our brothers gathered for Friday prayer, the Friday prayer not being allowed in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and Israel’s persistence in its attitude despite all warnings," he said.
Erdoğan added: "I wish Allah's mercy upon our three brothers who lost their lives” in yesterday’s violence.
He also wished a speedy recovery to the hundreds of wounded, saying that Turkey is against every type of violence.
He called on Israel to respect the holiness and historical status of the Al-Aqsa compound, saying this is its legal duty.
Meanwhile, President Erdoğan discussed al-Aqsa crisis with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron via phone.
The two leaders agreed that they were concerned about the tensions caused by restrictions and loss of life for Palestinians in the Harem-i Sharif in Jerusalem and agreed to work together to resolve the problem and ensure calm, according to Presidential sources.
Anger has spilled over across the West Bank since last week when Israel shut the Al-Aqsa Mosque, revered by both Muslims and Jews, who call it Temple Mount, following a deadly shootout.
The mosque was reopened after a two-day closure, with Israel installing metal detectors at the mosque gates, which Palestinians say aim to change the status quo -- a delicate balance of prayer and visiting rights.
Israel, for its part, has refused to remove the detectors, claiming the security measures are similar to procedures taken at other holy sites around the world.