Leaders unite in condemning synagogue attack in Istanbul
ANKARAPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and all political parties in parliament have condemned a recent attack on a synagogue in Istanbul by a group protesting against Israel’s restrictions at the holy al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.
“We have taken the necessary measures against the attacks planned on synagogues in our country,” Erdoğan told ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers at a meeting in parliament on July 25.
“I call on my nation, various opinion groups, and political parties: There is no meaning in attacking synagogues thinking this is what should be in response to what happened in al-Aqsa mosque, and these [attacks] are forbidden in our religion; they are wrong,” he said.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said, in an address to his party deputies in parliament on July 25, that it is a common duty to respect everyone’s belief.
“It is not right to upset our citizens in Turkey due to an event happening elsewhere,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also said it was “unacceptable” for the Israeli government to ban Palestinians’ entry to al-Aqsa mosque.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also commented on the issue on July 25. “The slightest attack on synagogues in Turkey not only weakens our hands but it also harms the freedom of religion and conscience. We cannot deem it right,” he said.
“I want to express that I have followed the regrettable events from news with concern. Any harm to the rights and religious choices of our Jewish citizens is a disgrace that is not suitable for the Turkish nation and we will never approve such behavior,” Bahçeli said at a press conference.
He criticized Israel for limiting access to the mosque, describing the attitude as a “crime against humanity and conscience.”
“The international community should stop murders in Jerusalem and prevent bigger disasters,” Bahçeli added.
“In this manner, I condemn the aggression of Israel. May God rest the souls of our Palestinian brothers who have been martyred, and I wish well to those who are wounded,” Bahçeli said.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) also criticized the attack on the synagogue.
“The attack on Neve Shalom synagogue, which is a place of worship for our Jewish citizens who have been this country’s fellow nationals for many centuries, cannot be an answer to Israel’s terror policies,” HDP deputy parliamentary group chair Ahmet Yıldırım said on July 24.
“An attack on a house of worship cannot be stopped by an attack on another house of worship,” he added.
Their comments came after the Alperen Hearths, an ultranationalist youth organization linked to the right-wing nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), stoned the Neve Shalom synagogue last week to protest Israel’s recent security measures.