Israel speaks to Turkish envoy over Erdoğan’s criticism of call to prayer ban in Jerusalem
AA photoA senior Israeli official telephoned Turkey's ambassador on May 9 to express indignation over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's criticism of an Israeli parliament bill proposing to ban the call for morning prayers in Jerusalem, Agence France-Presse has reported.
Foreign ministry director general Yuval Rotem spoke with ambassador Kemal Ökem at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's behest, the Israeli sources said.
“Those who systematically violate human rights in their own country should not preach to the only true democracy in the region. Israel consistently protects total freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians – and will continue to do so despite the baseless slander launched against it,” the Israeli ministry had earlier said in a statement.
Rotem, at the bequest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, conveyed the same message to Ökem in person, namely that Israel would not remain silent in the face of such rhetoric, The Jerusalem Post reported quoting diplomatic sources.
Erdoğan had earlier said Turkey would not allow the call for morning prayers “to be silenced in Jerusalem.”
“A draft bill, which aims to ban the call for morning prayers in mosques [in Jerusalem], is still waiting in the Israeli parliament. The fact that such an issue is even coming to the agenda is shameful. The fact that those who talk about freedom of thought and faith at every opportunity actually approve this step by remaining silent is noteworthy. Inshallah, we will not allow the silencing of prayers from the heavens of Jerusalem,” Erdoğan said on May 8.
“Why are you afraid of the freedom of faith if you believe in your faith? I am now reminding Israeli administrators: If you believe in your faith, then why are you afraid of the sound of our prayers?” he said.