Erdogan urges Israel to not allow ‘provocations’ against status of Al-Aqsa mosque

Erdogan urges Israel to not allow ‘provocations’ against status of Al-Aqsa mosque

Ankara, April 20 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog not to allow “provocations and threats” against the status and spirituality of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Taking to Twitter, he said he held a phone call with Herzog to discuss regional issues and bilateral relations, especially the events caused by “some Israeli radical groups and security forces in Palestine”, Xinhua news agency reported.

Erdogan said he told Herzog that he had been “very upset” about the Palestinians being injured or killed in the incidents in the West Bank and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in early April.

These incidents caused by radicals every year “hurt consciences and cause justifiable reactions” in the entire Islamic world, he said.

The tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been rising in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the past weeks, especially on Friday, as the Jewish festival of Passover began.

Some 200 Palestinians have been injured in a recent wave of clashes in East Jerusalem, mainly at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews. Scores of Israeli have also died in a spate of deadly attacks in Israel.

The phone talk came amid the reconciliation efforts made by Israel and Turkey, whose ties were strained in 2010 when a Turkish-led flotilla attempting to break Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip clashed with Israeli forces, leaving 10 Turks on board dead.

In 2018, Turkey expelled the Israeli Ambassador to Turkey after the US moved its embassy to the disputed holy city of Jerusalem.

On March 9, Herzog paid a visit to Ankara, during which Erdogan said he “clearly expressed Turkey’s sensitivity on the issue of Palestine.”

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