The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Sunday “strongly condemned” Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, Anadolu reports.
“We strongly condemn the storming of Al-Haram Al-Sharif on 21 May by the Israeli Minister of National Security under the protection of Israeli security forces in clear breach of the international law,” the ministry said in a written statement.
Entering the Haram al-Sharif area early in the morning with special guards and under the protection of the Israeli forces, Ben-Gvir claimed Israel’s ownership of the complex in a video message from the mosque’s courtyard.
Ankara called on Israel to “act responsibly, and to put an end to all kinds of provocative actions violating the historical status of Al-Haram Al-Sharif that is based on the international law.”
“It is in no way acceptable that Israeli Government members challenge the historical status of Al-Haram Al-Sharif in this manner and commit inflammatory and fascistic actions,” the Turkish ministry added.
This was the second time Ben-Gvir entered the complex since taking office as national security minister in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last December.
Ben-Gvir previously entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jan. 3, days after he took office, and with this action, he became the first Israeli minister on duty to enter the mosque in five years.
Holding far-right views on Palestinians and having called for their displacement, Ben-Gvir has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third-holiest site. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.
Last November, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in a leaked audio that “the whole world is worried” about Ben-Gvir’s far-right views.