Turkey has condemned a visit by Israel’s new far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, calling it a “provocation,” Reuters reported.
This comes as Turkey and Israel work to normalize relations after a four-year deterioration and the mutual appointment of ambassadors.
In a statement the Turkish foreign ministry said, “We are concerned by the provocative act of Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir towards Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli police and we condemn it. We call on Israel to act responsibly to prevent such provocations that will violate the status and sanctity of holy places in Jerusalem and escalate tension in the region.”
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam.
Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have repeatedly stated that Turkey’s warming relations with Israel will not diminish its support for the Palestinian cause.