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Erdogan denounces 'terrorist' Israel over Jerusalem clashes

Erdogan denounces 'terrorist' Israel over Jerusalem clashes

Israeli security forces deploy next to the Dome of the Rock mosque amid clashes with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem AFP/Ahmad GHARABLI

ANKARA: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel as a "cruel terrorist state" in a speech in Ankara on Saturday (May 8) in which he referred to recent police clashes with Palestinians in Jerusalem.

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," Erdogan said.

The violence in Jerusalem was "an attack on all Muslims", he said, adding that "protecting the honour 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, Erdogan 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," Erdogan 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 Istanbul in support of the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

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Relations have been strained between Turkey and Israel ever since, with ambassadors being withdrawn in 2018 after the deaths of Palestinian protesters in the enclave.

Source: AFP/nh

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