Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Pool Photo via AP) (Pool Photo via AP)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Erdogan is trying to steer the crisis surrounding the Temple Mount towards a holy war against the Jewish state, while Israel has dismissed his accusations as absurd and hypocritical.

Israel dismissed and even ridiculed accusations leveled by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who claimed Israel was exploiting the fight against terrorism as a pretext for taking over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Speaking to lawmakers of his AKP Party on Tuesday, Erdogan welcomed Israel’s removal of the metal detectors, but said Turkey would not accept measures that treat Muslims wanting to pray as “terrorists.”

Israel has removed the new metal detectors in an attempt to deescalate the tensions surrounding the issue. However, it has plans to install a network of smart cameras to meet the security requirements at the site.

“Israel has taken a dangerous path. By occupying the al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel has exceeded the boundaries,” Erdogan stated, adding that Ankara recognizes “Palestine” with a capital in “East Jerusalem,” while Israel’s capital is in Tel Aviv.

He also made baseless allegations that “Palestine’s problems” began with the fall of the Ottoman Empire a century ago.

Erdogan Calls for Holy War Against Israel

Erdogan essentially called for a Muslim holy war against Israel by urging “all Muslims around the world to go on a pilgrimage to al-Aqsa, to Palestine – if they are able to – or find a way and help our brothers therein if they’re unable to travel. The more we defend al-Aqsa, the fiercer the resistance will be. If Israeli soldiers are dirtying al-Aqsa with their boots, the reason is we fail to defend it decently. Let’s defend Palestine just as we defend Mecca and Medina.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Erdogan for his hypocrisy. “It would be interesting to see what Erdogan would say to the residents of northern Cyprus or to the Kurds. Erdogan is the last one who can preach to Israel,” Netanyahu said, relating to Turkey’s brutal suppression of the Kurds and its occupation of parts of Cyprus.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry dismissed Erdogan remarks as “absurd, unfounded and distorted.”

“He would be better off dealing with the difficult problems facing his own country,” the statement said. Turkey has recently been facing months of turmoil, violence, terrorism and the curbing of basic human rights.

“The days of the Ottoman Empire have passed,” the statement read, stressing that “Jerusalem was, is, and will always be the capital of the Jewish people.”

Seemingly relating to the Ottoman’s rule in Jerusalem, the ministry underscored that “in stark contrast to the past, the government in Jerusalem is committed to security, liberty, freedom of worship and respect for the rights of all minorities.”

The ministry concluded by cautioning that ”those who live in glass palaces should be wary of casting stones.”

White House ‘Applauds’ Israel

In contrast, the White House backed Israel’s recent moves, saying the removal of the recently installed magnetometers and cameras was done “despite the demonstrated need to enhance security” at the site.

“The United States applauds the efforts of Israel to maintain security while reducing tensions in the region,” the press secretary’s statement said.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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