Turkish president warns Israeli actions at al-Aqsa may prompt ‘new intifada’

Turkish president warns Israeli actions at al-Aqsa may prompt ‘new intifada’

Turkish president warns Israeli actions at al-Aqsa may prompt ‘new intifada’

Turkish President Erdoğan Erdoğan called both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal late on Nov. 5. AA Photo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned both Israel and the international community that an Israeli offensive on the al-Aqsa Mosque may pave the way for a “new intifada,” leading to troubles that might spread across the world and not be limited to the Middle East.

The international community has to take “all required steps” on the issue, Erdoğan said, speaking at a press conference in Ankara ahead of his departure for an official visit to Turkmenistan on Nov. 6.

“Otherwise, these provocations may revive intifada movements and we can also experience various troubles in different parts of the world, as [tension] would not remain limited to Palestine, Jerusalem or that region,” he said, drawing attention to the fact that no such incidents have taken place at the al-Aqsa Mosque since 1967.

The flashpoint mosque in Jerusalem is the scene of the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada, or “uprising,” in 2000, after a controversial visit by Ariel Sharon, who later became Israel’s prime minister.
Describing Israel’s latest moves at the mosque as “vicious,” Erdoğan echoed Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu who had called the offensive as “nothing but barbarity to the core.”

“I hope the Israeli administration will handle this matter with good sense and that the doors of the al-Aqsa Mosque are rapidly opened to Muslims,” the president said, vowing “not to remain silent in the face of Israeli aggression … Otherwise, in addition to remaining alone in the region, Israel will remain alone also in the world.”

Erdoğan already called both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal late on Nov. 5, sources from the presidential office told the state-run Anadolu Agency on Nov. 6.

Abbas explained to Erdoğan the recently rising aggression by Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa compound and asked for Turkey’s help, the same sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

In response, while underlining the importance of stopping violations at the al-Aqsa compound for maintaining regional peace, Erdoğan pledged to raise the issue with members of the U.N. Security Council.

Erdoğan apparently initiated the telephone conversations after the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque
earlier on Nov. 5 by Israeli extremists protected by more than 300 Israeli security forces, which led to a confrontation with Palestinian worshippers.

A Palestinian guard of the holy complex said Israeli security forces stormed into the compound’s courtyards through the al-Magharbeh and al-Silsila gates and began shooting randomly at worshipers and religious students, leaving scores injured.

Delivering remarks on the same issue late on Nov. 5, Davutoğlu called on all Muslims and the entire world to protect the al-Aqsa Mosque, saying Jerusalem – known as al-Quds by Muslims – could not be “monopolized by a single religion.”

If holy sites are disrespected, finding peace in the Middle East will not be possible, Davutoğlu said, speaking to reporters after a briefing at the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

Israeli aggression must receive a “stern response,” he said, stressing that Turkey would “always stand by the Palestinians.”

“We will make the necessary efforts to ensure that the international community gives the most active response against this attitude,” Davutoğlu said.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) also joined the government in commendation of the Israeli actions, describing the attacks as “barbarity.”

Israel’s “vandalism and state terror” that have been going on for years have now turned toward the al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites for all Muslims, CHP Deputy Chair Haluk Koç said in a written statement released on Nov. 6.

“There are attempts to tarnish the al-Aqsa Mosque with soldiers’ boots upon a call by an extreme right-wing, fundamentalist and fascist Israeli wing. As the CHP, we strongly condemn this attempt,” Koç, also the spokesperson of the party, said. He warned the recent incidents should be regarded as “a provocation” aimed at further troubling the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

The CHP urged Israel to “give up provocations over Islam’s [beliefs] at once.”

During a General Assembly session, the deputy parliamentary group chairs of all political parties represented at Parliament - namely the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CHP, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) - took the floor in order to condemn Israeli actions.