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Turkey condemns Israeli minister’s ‘provocative’ Al-Aqsa visit

Mideast powers condemn Israel minister's visit to Al-Aqsa mosque compound
Source: Twitter

Turkey on Wednesday condemned Israel’s new far-right security minister’s “provocative” visit to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, prompting reassurances from the Jewish state.

“We find the provocative action of Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir against the Al-Aqsa mosque unacceptable,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s office quoted him as telling his Israeli counterpart in a telephone call.

Ben-Gvir’s visit Tuesday came just days after he took office with powers over the police, giving his decision to enter the highly sensitive site considerable weight.

Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest place in Islam and the most sacred site to Jews, who refer to the compound as the Temple Mount.

Ankara’s condemnation came during a warming of the sides’ relations, which froze after an Israeli raid on a Turkish ship carrying aid into the Gaza enclave killed 10 civilians in 2010.

Israel and Turkey announced last August the full restoration of relations and the return of ambassadors to both countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month also congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu on his return to power as prime minister, despite a history of personal animosity between the two.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s office confirmed that Cavusoglu conveyed Ankara’s “concerns”.

“Mr. Cohen said Israel is committed to maintaining the status-quo of the site, that this visit does not constitute a change of policy, and that freedom of worship for all religions in Jerusalem will be preserved,” his office said.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French state-owned international news agency based in Paris. It is the world's oldest news agency, having been founded in 1835 as Havas.

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