Erdogan Tells Palestinian PM: Muslims Must Protect Jerusalem From 'Judaization'

The Turkish president meets with top Palestinian officials, says there will not be peace 'unless Israel is held accountable for its crimes'

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a ceremony to rejoin the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Turkey, May 2, 2017.
STF/AP

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Istanbul on Monday and discussed "ways to support Jerusalem," according to the Palestinian news agency Ma'an.

Erdogan "confirmed the necessity of unifying efforts to protect Jerusalem against attempts of Judaization" during the meeting, Ma'an reported.

The session was also attended by Palestinian Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Youssef Ideiss and Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem Adnan al-Husseini.
 
"It is impossible to find a solution and peace in the region without finding a fair solution for the Palestinian cause first," Erdogan was quoted as saying. "Israel keeps getting away from punishment," Erdogan added, noting that peace between Israel and the Palestinians will not be achieved "unless Israel is held accountable for its crimes."
 
Israel and Turkey clashed Monday in the most serious incident since the two countries signed a rapprochement agreement in 2016. After Erdogan lashed out at Israel's policy in the West Bank and on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, Israel responded in an unprecedented manner, accusing the Turkish president of being a serial human rights violator.
 
Erdogan, who was speaking a conference on Jerusalem in Istanbul, called on Turks and Muslims across the world to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque and support the Palestinian struggle.
 
"As a Muslim community, we need to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque often, each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us," Erdogan said in his speech.
 
Erdogan also said that Israel's policy toward the Palestinians in the West Bank is racist, discriminatory and reminiscent of apartheid.
 
"What's the difference between the present acts of the Israeli administration and the racist and discriminatory politics that were practiced against black people in the past in America and up until a short time ago in South Africa?" he asked.
 
Israel issued an exceptional response personally aimed at Erdogan. "Those who systematically violate human rights in their own country should not lecture and take the moral high ground over the region's sole real democracy," Emanuel Nahshon, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said.
 
"Israel is unequivocally dedicated to preserving religious freedom for Jews, Muslims and Christians – and will continue to do so despite this baseless slander," he said.