TURKEY

Turkey slams Israeli minister's remarks on Al-Aqsa

Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday rejected the remarks made by Gilad Erdan, Israel's public security minister, to change the historical status quo of the Al-Aqsa mosque.

"We utterly reject the statements of the Israeli Minister of Public Security regarding changing the status quo in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This is an indication of a distorted mindset," the foreign ministry statement said.

"It is clear that any insinuation and initiative to prejudice the historical and legal status of Jerusalem will further exacerbate the tension in the region," the statement said.

"In fact, during the Eid al-Adha, many Palestinians were wounded as a result of the intervention by the Israeli police inside the Haram al-Sharif, while trying to prevent provocative raids by some extremist Jewish groups against the Al-Aqsa Mosque," it added.

The statement said that the Israeli authorities should be urged to put an end to their illegal practices in the occupied Palestinian territories, avoid irresponsible actions and statements that will increase tensions in the region.

Gilad Erdan told Israeli Radio on Tuesday: "I think there is an injustice in the status quo that has existed since 1967."

"We need to work to change [the status quo] so in the future Jews, with the help of God, can pray at the Temple Mount," he added.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. In 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community, Israel annexed the entire city, claiming it as the self-proclaimed Jewish state's "eternal and undivided" capital.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Contact Us