Ayoob Kara
Ayoob KaraHezki Baruch

Minister Ayoob Kara (Likud) responded on Sunday to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Israel comments last week.

Erdogan called on Muslims to ascend the Temple Mount as a show of solidarity with Palestinian Arabs in their “fight for rights and justice,” and slammed Israel’s proposed Muezzin Law, which seeks to lower the volume of muezzin calls in mosques during sleeping hours.

Later, in a meeting with top Palestinian Authority leader Rami Hamdallah, Erdogan called for efforts by Arabs “to protect Jerusalem against attempts of Judaization,” and called on as many Muslims as possible to visit the Temple Mount in order to emphasize the bond between Islam and the site.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Kara said, “I regret [the comments]. I spoke about them with the Turkish ambassador in Israel. This does not add to the relations between the two countries. Both countries’ regimes are fighting religious extremism and terrorism, and I am amazed by the incitement against Israel, which has neither a place nor serves a purpose for either side."

Kara said that most of the Turkish public does not back Erdogan’s comments, adding, "These comments were probably made due to pressure from Hamas and other terrorist organizations, and sometimes Erdogan is forced to pay lip service."

He noted that 100 businessmen from Turkey will arrive in Israel in the coming days to promote their businesses.

"On the other hand, Turkey is moving factories to Jenin and will transfer goods from Israel to the entire world. Erdogan is turning to the West. Without the West there is no economy and without economy there is no stability, and he also sees the importance of the relations between Israel and Turkey," said Kara.

The Foreign Ministry lambasted Erdogan’s comments last week, noting that he had no right to criticize Israel in light of his systematic abuse of human rights.

"Whoever systematically violates human rights in his country should not preach morality to the only true democracy in the region. Israel adheres strictly to full freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians - and will continue to do so in spite of this baseless slander," the ministry said.