Turkey condemns Israeli raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque
Several senior Turkish officials condemned a raid on May 7 by Israeli police on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Vice President Fuat Oktay said Israel is committing "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" in Palestinian territories.
"As the world turns a blind eye to this invasion and unlawfulness, it will continue its cruelty. I strongly condemn attacks on Masjid al-Aqsa, our first qibla, by Israel, which does not respect anything sacred. It should be stopped immediately," Oktay said on Twitter.
Also, speaking to private news channel A Haber early Saturday, Oktay said: "Covering all kinds of recklessness, cruelty, all kinds of immorality and all kinds of crimes leads to new recklessness."
He stressed that Turkey sees the state of Israel, which "makes use of the opportunities" brought by the disorganization of the Islamic world, a state that spreads terror.
Oktay cited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who asked where does Israel's borders end in his 2019 U.N. General Assembly speech, while showing the map illustrating the change on borders of Palestine and Israel since 1947 to present day.
He said those who claim that "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel" are similarly guilty as those who perpetrate the persecution.
"Strongly condemning the attack this evening on al-Aqsa Mosque, our first Qibla. It is inhumane for Israel to target innocents praying during Holy Ramadan," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter, referring to the Muslim holy month.
"Will always stand by the just cause of the people of #Palestine," Çavuşoğlu added as he wished a speedy recovery to those injured in the raid.
Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said on Twitter: "As in every Ramadan, we are witnessing days when Israel's violence and cruelty increased."
"The attack on the group of worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque tonight is clear state terror. Whoever sows violence and cruelty cannot reap peace and tranquility. I condemn the terror in #ALAqsa," he added.
Turkey's presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın also condemned the raid in which Israeli security forces used stun grenades to disperse worshippers inside the mosque.
"We strongly condemn the Israeli police attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque with stun grenades," Kalın said on Twitter, urging Tel Aviv to cease such attacks.
"Israeli occupation forces, which don't respect any religious values during the holy month of Ramadan, must leave Al-Aqsa mosque immediately," he added.
'Remaining silent equal to oppression'
Communications Director Fahrettin Altun denounced the attack. Altun said that Turkey was monitoring Israel's policy of occupation and violence against Palestinians "with concern."
"It is unacceptable for Israel that attack our religious values. Today we strongly condemn the attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque, our first Qibla, with stun grenades," he said on Twitter.
Altun also spoke to TRT Haber, Turkey's state-run news channel, and questioned the silence of the Western word about the attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque.
"Does law and justice only apply when it comes to you and your interests?” he said.
Altun said remaining silent in this case goes even beyond double standards and it is equal to oppression.
"As Turkey, we will continue to stand by the just cause of Palestine today, as it was yesterday. We will support Palestine tomorrow, we will be with our oppressed Palestinian brothers," he said.
Altun noted that Israeli police also "targeted" an Anadolu Agency correspondent on scene.
Anadolu Agency's Middle East News Editor Turgut Alp Boyraz was shot in the foot with a plastic bullet while covering the raid. Photojournalist Mostafa Alkharouf was also shot in the back with a plastic bullet by Israeli security forces.
Anadolu Agency’s cameraman Fayiz Abu Rumeyle was shot in his right leg with a plastic bullet by police. Alkharouf and Rumeyle are being treated at a hospital.
"Isn't it time to ask the whole world again? Is the freedom of the press and the immunity of the press for the Western world that you defend at every opportunity only apply to Western journalists?" Altun asked rhetorically.
National Education Minister Ziya Selçuk also condemned the police raid.
"It is unacceptable that the most sacred places are remembered by violence and worshippers are persecuted. I wish immediate recovery to the injured," he said in a Twitter post.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said attacks on al-Aqsa are never acceptable.
"The occupying forces must immediately end illegal and inhuman intervention against the sacred places and innocent civilians. We are with our Palestinian brothers, we will always be with them," he said.
Derya Yanık, the family and social services minister, "strongly" condemned the "brutal attack" of the Israeli police on Muslims worshiping at the mosque.
"Although the international public opinion does not want to see it, Israel is committing a crime against humanity. Those who remain silent are partners to this crime," she said.
Murat Kurum, environment and urbanization minister, also voiced support for Palestinian "brothers and sisters."
"I condemn Israel for attacking our brothers worshipping in Masjid al-Aqsa in Ramadan, disregarding the freedom of religion and conscience, which are guaranteed in all universal legal texts, and the immunity of the sacred venue," he said.
Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy decried the attack and wished a fast recovery to those injured.
Ali Erbaş, the head of Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs, condemned the Israeli attack on Twitter.
"The occupation policies and tyranny of this mentality, lacking respect for humanity and the saints, lacking law and morality, must be ended as soon as possible," said Erbaş.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu joined the condemnation from Turkey.
"I strongly condemn the Israeli police attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque community. Our prayers are the same with our Palestinian brothers, our hearts are one!" he said on Twitter.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in a Twitter post condemned Israel's "heinous attack" on the congregation praying in the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.
"We stand by our Palestinian brothers in the face of this inhumane incident, Meral Akşener, leader of the opposition Good (IYI) Party, said on Twitter
Israeli police attempted to disperse worshippers inside the Haram al-Sharif area of Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday evening, using stun grenades and gas bombs.
The number of injured rose to 205 in Israeli attacks at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Damascus gate of the Old City and Sheikh Jarrah district in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent said in a statement.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world's third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.