Muslims near Old City wall (file).
Muslims near Old City wall (file).Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Turkish government is completing a 10 meter high wall along a section of the Old City wall in Jerusalem, under the nose of Jerusalem authorities.

Aryeh King, Chairman of the Public Complaints Bureau in eastern Jerusalem, recently noticed signs in Turkish and English around a section of the Old City wall near the Lions' Gate. The signs proclaimed that a construction project was being carried out by Turkish governmental fund TIKA. Next to the signs, Arab workers were working on completing a huge 10 meter high wall around the Muslim cemetery there, and the wall is now virtually finished.

King told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew news magazine Sunday that there is no apparent reason for building the wall, since a wall already surrounds the Muslim cemetery. The new wall is twice as high as the old one and does nothing to strengthen it, he said. “There is no logic behind this structure, either engineering or landscape-related,” he explained, and the new wall blocks the view of the Old City to drivers passing by it on the Jericho Road.

King conjectured that the real motivation for the construction was a desire by the Turkish government to create facts on the ground in Jerusalem, and to exhibit independent action despite its status as a foreign government. He noted that the builders appear especially eager to complete the construction as fast as possible, and that to this end they have even been working on Friday, the Muslim sabbath.

King inquired with the Jerusalem municipality in early July as to whether the construction has received all required permits. Informally, he was told that it has not. Formally, he has yet to receive an answer, three weeks after he e-mailed Mayor Nir Barkat photos of the construction. He was told, however, that the signs in Turkish and English received no official authorization. 

King urged “those who hold Jerusalem dear to their hearts” to inquire with Barkat and with the Municipality Director, Yair Maayan, as to the reason for allowing the construction of the wall by Turkey. "Someone has gave the instruction to let the Turks and Arabs build, and the rest of the authorities are toeing the line," he said.