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Erdoğan calls Israel ‘terror state’ over Jerusalem clashes

Turkish President and leader of Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during his ruling AKP’s group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, on April 21, 2021. Adem ALTAN / AFP

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denounced Israel as a “cruel terrorist state” in a speech in Ankara Saturday in which he referred to recent police clashes with Palestinians in Jerusalem, Agence France-Presse reported.

His comments came after more than 200 people were wounded when Israeli riot police clashed with Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound late Friday.

This latest incident capped a week of unrest in the Holy City and the occupied West Bank.

“Israel, the cruel terrorist state, attacks the Muslims in Jerusalem — whose only concern is to protect their homes … and their sacred values — in a savage manner devoid of ethics,” Erdoğan said.

The violence in Jerusalem was “an attack on all Muslims”, he said, adding that “protecting the honor of Jerusalem is a duty for every Muslim.”

He urged all countries, in particular Muslim countries, to react and called on the United Nations to “stop this persecution.”

Earlier Saturday, Erdoğan took to Twitter to condemn the violence.

“We strongly condemn the abominable attacks against the Al-Aqsa mosque… which are unfortunately carried out every Ramadan,” he wrote, referring to the Muslim month of fasting.

“We will continue to be at the side of our Palestinian brothers and sisters in all circumstances,” Erdoğan pledged.

On Friday, Turkey’s foreign minister called on the Israeli government to end its “aggressive and provocative” policy against Palestinians.

Around 300 people demonstrated Saturday outside the Israeli consulate in İstanbul in support of the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

The protest was organized by the pro-government NGO called IHH which oversaw a flotilla of ships that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010.

Relations have been strained between Turkey and Israel ever since, with ambassadors being withdrawn in 2018 after the deaths of Palestinian protesters in the enclave.

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