Turkish parliament rebuts Israeli attack on Erdogan

Head of Foreign Affairs Committee rejects criticism of president’s comments over Al-Aqsa Mosque

Turkish parliament on Wednesday hit back at an Israeli statement that had referred to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks on Al-Aqsa Mosque as “delusional” and “distorted”.

“The absurd, unfounded and distorted accusations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel shows the diplomatic courtesy level of Israel,” Taha Ozhan, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Erdogan criticized Israel’s recent actions around the mosque to a group of Justice and Development (AK) Party lawmakers in Ankara and called for Muslims to claim Jerusalem as their city.

Palestinians have clashed with security forces around the mosque’s compound in East Jerusalem after metal detectors were installed at the site’s entrances. Eight Palestinians and three Israeli settlers have been killed in related violence across the Palestinian territories since Friday.

Erdogan’s comments led an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman to suggest he “deal with the problems and difficulties in his country” before adding that the “days of the Ottoman Empire are over” — a reference to the Ottoman possession of Jerusalem.

However, Ozhan said the Israeli comments demonstrated “how this occupant state is distant to regional matters”.

He added that “Israel should learn about the Ottoman era, when the members of Abrahamic religions lived together in peace in Jerusalem”.

Speaking to journalists, AK Party lawmaker Cahit Ozkan condemned Israel’s stance on Al-Aqsa. “Israel should give up its barbarous attitude as immediate as possible,” he said.

The deputy added: “We strongly condemn Israel’s attitude… The incidents should immediately come to an end and a peaceful environment should be restored.”

Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam.