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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Erdogan calls on Muslims to 'protect Jerusalem'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on all Muslims to “defend the Palestinian cause” and protect Jerusalem.

Speaking in Istanbul at a parliamentary symposium on Jerusalem and quoted by Al Jazeera, Erdogan said "it is the common duty of all Muslims to embrace the Palestinian cause and protect Jerusalem", adding that safeguarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque should not be left to children armed with nothing but stones.

He accused Israel of "policies of repression and discrimination against our Palestinian brothers" and condemned the so-called Israeli “Muezzin Law”, which would prohibit houses of worship from using loudspeakers, specifically mosques, which disturb the sleep of nearby residents when the Muezzin calls worshipers to prayer in the early hours of the morning.

Erdogan criticized the bill as "irrational" and "conscienceless", reiterating criticism voiced about the law last week by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister. He also underscored the need for a "two-state solution" to solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"The only way for permanent peace in the Middle East is a free and independent Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem," said Erdogan, according to Al Jazeera.

"It is not possible to provide peace in the region without bandaging this wound in the Middle East," he added. 

Israel and Turkey recently restored ties that were severed in 2010 after the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. Despite the fact that Turkey appointed an ambassador to Israel and Israel did the same just weeks ago, Erdogan has continued his verbal attacks on Israel.

In an interview with Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan last week, Erdogan refused to take back his past verbal attacks against Israel, including a statement that Israel’s attacks against terrorist targets in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge were more barbaric than Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s actions.