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Israel plans to cut off Turkey’s helping hand to Jerusalemites

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and his wife Emine Erdogan (L) greet the crowd after the results of the referendum at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on April 17, 2017 [Turkish Presidency / Yasin Bulbul - Anadolu Agency]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and his wife Emine Erdogan (L) greet the crowds in Ankara, Turkey [Turkish Presidency / Yasin Bulbul - Anadolu Agency]

We have heard voices growing louder and calling for severing ties with Turkey after their excessive optimism that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would lose the presidential election, their justified optimism in him losing the parliamentary elections, and their illogical bet on the Republican People’s Party’s candidate, Muharrem Ince, and their subsequent disappointment. These voices also called for the recognition of what they called the Armenian genocide, the need to acknowledge the Kurds’ independence, and the need to punish the Turkish people who elected Erdogan by starving them as the only means to force them to elect someone else. They are saying this as if the livelihood of the Turkish people is dependent on Israel.

Today, we appear to be facing a media campaign in preparation for a security plan, starting with the Friday insert in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, which wrote a hateful report, titled “Sultana”, referring to President Erdogan’s wife. The report described her as if she were Sarah Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister’s wife, as the report talked about her clothes, and where she bought them, as well as her purse, which the report claimed cost $50,000. The report also claimed she was addicted to shopping.

The newspaper also noted that she was a devout Muslim who covered her head, but that she was fond of designer clothes and expensive jewellery. It said that she had grown up in a modest family with four older brothers, that she did not complete high school, and has never worked, and has now become the woman who whispers in the ear of one of the world’s most powerful political leaders in 2018.

Read: Why the Arabs like Erdogan

This was followed by a report issued by Israel’s Channel 2, titled “Israel’s prepared plan against Erdogan”. According to this, after Israel and its Arab and Palestinian allies became fed up with Turkey’s activity in occupied East Jerusalem, Israel is preparing to put an end to this activity. The Israeli National Security Council is currently gathering information against the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency- TIKA (the Turkish relief agency operating in East Jerusalem and across the world). TIKA had been operating under a permit from the occupation forces so far, but now the occupation forces “suddenly” suspect that it is working with the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, led by Sheikh Raed Salah, and perhaps even with Hamas, according to the channel.

The channel also said that Israel is currently waiting for the Turkish president to launch an attack against it in order to use this as an excuse to stop the Turkish agency from working in Jerusalem. The National Security Council prepared a plan for this purpose and content, and the occupation claims that TIKA is the arm of the Turkish government aiming to strengthen its influence in Jerusalem and particularly in Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel also accuses TIKA of meeting with members of the Islamic Movement in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 and of supporting Hamas by providing it with confidential information and funds.

According to the recommendations in the plan, the occupation forces will begin cracking down on the Turkish agency by restricting its work and forcing it to obtain permission from the occupation forces prior to any of its activities. Netanyahu himself will be overlooking the execution of the plan.

Read: Turkish medical team arrives in Gaza

During this week, the plan will be discussed by all concerned parties in order for it to be “compatible” with international law. Israel’s Channel 2 says that Turkey has been intensifying its efforts in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque in recent years and accuses it of inciting Jerusalemites. It said that Turkey’s hands have become stained with blood and it is transferring funds to Jerusalem organisations working to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel – according to the channel – accuses the Turks of carrying out activities outside Al-Aqsa Mosque such as the distribution of blankets and heaters to the poor of Jerusalem, as well as organising iftars for those fasting during Ramadan in the form of humanitarian aid.

The channel believes that Turkey is building itself a special place in Jerusalem at the expense of Jordan through what it spends there.

It is worth mentioning that Israel has been complaining for years about Turkey’s activities in Jerusalem and had held Turkey responsible in the past for the steadfastness of the Murabiteen (Muslims worshippers who maintain a presence at the mosque) and the success of the Jerusalemites in forcing the occupation forces to remove the electronic gates from the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is also accusing Turkey of organising group visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque while the Arabs are encouraging normalisation visits.

The Israeli occupation forces arrested a young Turkish woman, Ebru Ozkan, on 11 June at Ben Gurion airport as she was on her way back from praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque and commemorating Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) there. Ozkan is still being detained and is being investigated for no other reason but to pressure the Turkish government and to deter Turkish Muslims and women specifically from visiting occupied Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 8 July 2018

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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