Israel queries Turkey over Erdogan's apartheid remarks

From a vantage point near the Temple Mount Tzipi Hotovely waves the Israeli flag with the Dome of the Rock in the background

The Turkish President "confirmed the necessity of unifying efforts to protect Jerusalem against attempts of Judaization", and reiterated an earlier call for Muslims from around the globe to visit the "Al-Aksa" mosque located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

"We as Muslims should visit Al-Quds [Jerusalem] more often", Erdogan said.

"Those who systematically violate human rights in their own country should not lecture and take the moral high ground over the region's sole real democracy", Emanuel Nahshon, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said. He accused the worldwide community of ignoring Israel's "inhumanity and cruelty".

Erdogan also criticized a bill being considered in Israel that would limit the volume of the Muslim call to prayer.

Speaking to IDF Radio on Tuesday, former Israeli minister Gidon Sa'ar said the reconciliation with Turkey was a mistake, and that Jerusalem's former close relationship with Ankara will never return as long as Erdogan is in power. "Israel consistently protects total freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians - and will continue to do so despite the baseless smears launched against it".

The bill, which was approved by ministers in February but has yet to be adopted by parliament, would apply to mosques in Israel as well as occupied East Jerusalem, but not to al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site. Are they unsure of their own fate?

Israel and Turkey mutually posted ambassadors in 2016 after over six years of strife stemming from an Israeli naval raid on an aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip that left 10 Turkish citizens dead.

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to Erdogan's comments in a statement issued on Monday night.

"We have heard voices which attack Israel for building Jewish life in Jerusalem - for the last 150 years there has been a Jewish majority in Jerusalem, even under the Ottoman Empire", the president says.

The accusations traded between Israel and Turkey on Monday could derail the two countries' diplomatic relations.



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