Turkey urges world to react against Israeli aggression
ANTALYA – Anadolu Agency
Turkey's foreign minister on March 12 called on the global community to stand against Israeli aggression in the sacred places of Islam.
"Unfortunately, today, Israel's aggression has increased with encouragement from the U.S. We talk about all these issues and will not give up our sacred and national causes," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, speaking at a public gathering in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.
Referring to raids in East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, he said: "It is time to put a stop to Israel's recklessness. We can't tolerate brazen attacks on our holy places and the world must react to this."
The top diplomat stressed Turkey and other countries of the world respect places of worship for followers of different religions.
However, Israel did not follow the same policy given the aggression in Palestine, he added.
He said Turkey has transformed into a globally acknowledged brand in tourism, adding: "Let us maintain this [trend] so that our shopkeepers and citizens thrive."
Çavuşoğlu went on to say that Turkey attracted numerous tourists from many different countries with Germans taking the lead.
"People from different countries spend their holidays here; there are tourists who buy houses here," he said, underlining Turkey's goal was to host up to 100 million people.
Tension has mounted in Jerusalem since last month, when Israeli police briefly sealed the Al-Aqsa compound's Al-Rahma Gate, located adjacent to the eastern wall of the Old City, sparking angry Palestinian demonstrations.
In the weeks since, the Israeli authorities have banned scores of Palestinians - including religious officials – from entering the Al-Aqsa, which for Muslims represents the world's third holiest site.
Meanwhile, a senior aide to the Turkish president lashed out on March 13 at remarks by Israel's prime minister targeting the Turkish leader.
Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said Benjamin Netanyahu attacked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan "for exposing the Israeli leader's racist remarks towards Arabs and Muslims".
"The apartheid state he leads occupies Palestinian lands, kills women, children, and imprisons Palestinians in their own land," Kalın said on Twitter.
"Lies and pressure will not hide your crimes," he added.