Turkey’s Deputy PM blasts Israel for closing Temple Mount

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister says two-day closure of the Temple Mount was "crime against humanity."

Elad Benari,

Numan Kurtulmus
Numan Kurtulmus
Reuters

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister on Monday blasted Israel's two-day closure of the Temple Mount following last week’s terrorist attack as a "crime against humanity."

Israel closed the compound on Friday and Saturday after the attack, in which two Druze police officers were murdered.

On Sunday, the compound was reopened with increased security measures, including the placement of magnetometers (advanced metal detectors which are selective in which metals they react to) and additional security cameras around the entrances to the holy site.

"This decision is a crime against humanity, a crime committed against the freedom of religion. From the point of view of human rights, it's utterly unacceptable," said Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Numan Kurtulmus, according to AFP.

"It really is an unacceptable decision, and wounding to the highest degree," added Kurtulmus, who was speaking at a news conference in Ankara after a cabinet meeting.

Turkey and Israel signed a reconciliation agreement last year, six years after their relations deteriorated following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

In that incident, IDF soldiers boarded the Marmara after the Islamists on board, who claimed they were carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza, refused to reverse course and dock at the Ashdod Port.

Upon boarding the ship, the soldiers were attacked by the Islamists with clubs and knives, forcing the troops to open fire and killing 10 of the activists on board.

Under the reconciliation deal, Israel paid Turkey $20 million in compensation for the deaths of the 10 pro-Hamas Turkish assailants.

The agreement also provides for normalization of relations, the removal of sanctions the countries have imposed on one another, an increase in the level of diplomatic relations, and an exchange of ambassadors.

The ties between the countries remain volatile, however. In May, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke out angrily over legal plans in Israel to prevent the use of loudspeakers on minarets to summon Muslims for nightly prayers.

Last week in contrast, Israel said Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law, would visit by year's end to conclude an agreement for the building of a gas pipeline linking the two countries.

The new security measures on the Temple Mount also prompted an outcry from the Palestinian Authority, the Jordanian Waqf, and the Jordanian government, which demanded a return to the status quo.




top