'The Turks are trying to reestablish the Ottoman Empire'

Turkey consolidating influence in J'lem, as it fosters anti-Israel sentiment such as was seen at Temple Mount demonstration Friday.

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Shimon Cohen,

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Under the radar of Israeli media, which apparently preferred not to provide a platform for a report on the matter, a huge anti-Israeli demonstration was held on the Temple Mount led by Turkish activists. Children and youths wore Turkish turbans, waved pictures of Turkish leader Erdogan and shouted slogans against Israel.

Arutz Sheva talked about the hushed-up demonstration with Maor Tzemach of Lach Yerushalayim, which works to advance Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. "This is part of a long process of Turkish desire to take part in the struggle for Jerusalem in general and the Temple Mount in particular. Lots of money and incitement have been invested in this effort. It stems from a Turkish desire to reestablish the Ottoman Empire."

Tzemach said that, “following Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, Erdogan is trying to lead a pan-Arab process on the issue of Jerusalem. Turkish activists are coming to the Temple Mount and creating an anti-Israel atmosphere and inciting against Israel. "

Last Friday, a large rally of several thousand led by Turkish activists took place. According to Tzemach, this is part of ongoing processes taking place in the eastern part of the city including the efforts of Turkish associations which, by providing aid to the needy, win over hearts and, with their growing support, hold hate rallies against Israel.

These associations include distribution of food to the needy, educational associations that organize meetings for young Arabs from Jerusalem in Istanbul with municipal officials who express support for struggles against the “Israeli occupation,” funding of social activities, and more. Tzemach mentioned that the Hamas movement also started out as a charity movement, and these organizations should be seen in a similar light.

In his opinion, Israeli decision-makers must understand the significance of the Turkish influence in Israel and act against these activists as they do with anarchists and BDS activists. "If Israeli activists were acting against Erdogan's dictatorial policies, they would at least have been arrested."

And what about security forces? Tzemach did not criticize. He said that they are acting to the best of their abilities, and noted with respect to the mass demonstration last Friday that "the policy on Fridays is not to employ security intervention on the Temple Mount. [Rather,] it is a decision of policy, on whether activists may enter Israel or are sent back to Turkey.”