Turkish president condemns Israel’s raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque worshippers

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday condemned Israel’s actions against the worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during his phone call with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas.

“During our conversation, I expressed that I strongly condemn Israel’s interventions against the worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque and that we will stand against the provocations and threats to the status quo and spirituality of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Erdogan said on Twitter.

“Turkey always stands with Palestine,” he added, noting the events reaffirm the necessity for all Palestinian groups to work toward unity and reconciliation.

The tension between Israelis and Palestinians has flared up in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the past weeks, especially when the Jewish festival of Passover began on Friday during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Friday clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem left more than 160 people wounded.

The relations between Turkey and Israel 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 a more recent spat in 2018, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador to Turkey after the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem.

The two countries have been working on a rapprochement in recent months. On March 9, Israeli President Isaac 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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