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Turkey says Erdoğan, Israel’s Herzog to speak after Jerusalem clashes

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold a call with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday, after Israeli interventions on Palestinian worshippers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque last week, Reuters reported, citing Turkey’s foreign minister.

On Friday at least 152 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the latest outbreak in an upsurge of violence that has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict.

“We have already made our statements and we are continuing our contacts in response to the unacceptable attacks by Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Al-Aqsa,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a news conference in Ankara.

“Our president will have a phone call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog as well,” he added.

The call comes after Erdoğan on Sunday told his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas that he condemned Israeli “intervention on worshippers” at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and threats to its “status or spirit.” It also comes amid recent efforts by Turkey and Israel to repair their long-strained ties.

Regional rivals Turkey and Israel expelled ambassadors in 2018 and have often traded barbs over the Palestinian conflict, Turkish support of the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza, and other issues.

Turkey, which supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has said it believes a rapprochement with Israel will also help find a solution to the issue, but that it would not abandon commitments to Palestinians for better ties with Israel.

Earlier this month, Erdoğan had told his Israeli counterpart Herzog, whom he also met in Ankara last month, that Ankara expected Israeli authorities to be sensitive over Al-Aqsa during Ramadan and stressed the importance of allowing Palestinians to enter Israel.

While it has criticized the clashes in Jerusalem, Turkey’s reaction to the violence has been much calmer than in the past, when it had launched various initiatives at the UN and other platforms to condemn Israel and support Palestinians.

Last month, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said he would visit Israel and Palestine with Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez in May and discuss the re-appointment of ambassadors with his Israeli counterpart during the visit.

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