Erdogan demands Israel remove metal detectors

President Rivlin tells Turkish counterpart Turkey should show the same support for Israel after terror attack Israel showed Turkey.

AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday urged his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin to swiftly remove metal detectors erected at the entrances Temple Mount following a deadly terrorist attack at the holy site last week.

Muslims have been refusing to enter the Temple Mount since Sunday, when Israel began installing metal detectors at entrances to the site following the murder of two police officers.

"Within the framework of freedom of religion and worship there can be no impediment for Muslims" entering the holy site, the Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan as telling Rivlin.

"Given the importance that Haram al-Sharif carries for the whole Islamic world, the metal detectors put in place by Israel should be removed in the shortest possible time and an end put to the tension," Erdogan added.

The Turkish leader had earlier held telephone talks with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, telling him the measures imposed by Israel were "unacceptable".

PA and Muslim religious leaders have urged worshipers not to enter the compound through the metal detectors, and hundreds have been holding prayers outside the site with clashes occasionally breaking out.

Erdogan expressed sadness over the "loss of lives" in the incident on July 14 when two Israeli police officers were shot dead by three Arab Israeli attackers who were killed by security forces.

Erdogan said such violence could never be approved.

A statement by the Israeli presidency said that Rivlin had reminded Erdogan that Israel had shown solidarity with Turkey over terror attacks on Turkish territory last year.

"The steps taken on the Temple Mount were intended to ensure that such acts of terror could not be repeated," Rivlin told Erdogan.

Erdogan's call came a day ahead of the weekly Friday prayers, with speculation intensifying over whether Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will order the removal of the metal detectors.

The spokesman for Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, had earlier expressed concern that the use of the metal detectors was part of a step-by-step change in the status of the entire complex.

Last year Turkey opened the Camlica Mosque in Istanbul, the largest Mosque in Asia Minor. An image posted online showed guests and worshipers going through metal detectors to enter the new Turkish Mosque.