Turkey criticised Israel and accused it of unleashing “terror” on Palestinians after Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades towards rock-hurling Palestinian youth at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque late on Friday.
The clashes at Islam’s third holiest site and around East Jerusalem, which injured 205 Palestinians and 17 police officers, came amid mounting anger over the potential eviction of Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
As the clashes flared, several Turkish officials criticised Israel and called for other countries to voice condemnation, while a Foreign Ministry statement urged Israel to “immediately end its provocative and hostile stance and act with reason”.
“Shame on Israel and those who keep silent in the face of disgraceful attacks,” Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter late on Friday.
“We call on everyone to stand up against the policies of occupation and aggression of this apartheid state,” he said.
Turkey‘s communications director Fahrettin Altun told state television Israel was violating human rights and would “pay the price”, as opposition parties echoed the government condemnation in a rare sign of unity.
“Attacking innocent people praying is clearly terror,” Altun said. “We see that these attacks on Palestinians are against the most fundamental human rights.”
Former allies Turkey and Israel have had a bitter falling-out in recent years despite strong commercial ties, mutually expelling ambassadors in 2018.
Ankara has repeatedly condemned Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians, calling the issue a “red line”.
Last month, Turkey also condemned what it said was Israel’s “systematic attempt at evicting Palestinians”, referring to the long-running legal case that Israel’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing over on Monday.