Turkiye will continue relations with Israel despite violence against Al-Aqsa, Erdogan states
Turkiye will maintain its relations with Israel and carry on with the reconciliation process, despite the Israeli authorities' violence against Palestinians and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound over the past week, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said.
Since Israeli forces and Jewish worshippers began carrying out violence and raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem last week, the site has been the scene of clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli security forces, as is usually the case during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
As a result, over 400 Palestinians have been injured and at least 18, including children, have been killed. Dozens of Palestinians have also been arrested, in what has been analmost daily occurrence.
Following those events, Turkish President Erdogan and his government condemned the Israeli aggression and violation of the rights of Palestinian worshippers. He warned against the "threats" that the violence poses to the status quo in Jerusalem, and yesterday held a phone call with Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, in which he expressed his concerns.
Barely a day after that call, however, Erdogan clarified today that "Turkey will maintain its ties with Israel despite the incidents at Al-Aqsa Mosque because strong relations with Israel are key to defending Palestinian rights." He stressed that "Israel is an important player in the region that cannot be ignored".
Israeli forces' aggression and the breakout of violence this month comes at a time when Ankara has made serious advancements in its efforts to reconcile and rebuild relations with Tel Aviv, after around a decade of diplomatic fallout between the two. Erdogan's tone towards Israel's annual ignition of violence against Palestinians, therefore, has become notably lighter and less severe.
Rather than condemning Israel's "heinous attacks" and saying that Israel harbours "hostility" towards the Muslim world, as he did so in previous years, for example, he now refers to the crackdown on Palestinian worshippers as an "intervention"against their freedom of worship.
While many, including his supporters, blame Erdogan for his new stance, many others see it as a tactic of pragmatism and an attempt by the President to balance support for the Palestinian cause and the benefits that could be drawn from relations with Tel Aviv.