Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday met with Arab members of Knesset and assured them that Ankara was “confronting conspiracies against al-Aqsa” by the Israeli government.
Five members of the Joint (Arab) List — Ahmad Tibi, Jamal Zahalka, Basel Ghattas, Taleb Abu Arar and Osama Sa’adi — met with Erdogan at the presidential palace in Istanbul to discuss tensions over the Temple Mount, a day after they met with Jordan’s king in Amman over the same issue.
According to a statement issued by the Joint (Arab) List, the Turkish president assured them of Ankara’s commitment “to protect al-Aqsa against Israeli violations” and that the Turks would explore “all avenues” to prevent them.
Member of Knesset Jamal Zahalka, one of the lawmakers who attended the powwow, said the three-hour meeting with Erdogan was “fruitful and honest.”
Erdogan expressed “relief and appreciation” at the Joint List’s unification ahead of the March 2015 elections, saying that he hoped the move would “positively affect a Palestinian reconciliation.”
The Arab lawmakers’ meeting with Erdogan came a day after they met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who told them that the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was for “Muslim prayer only.”
Israeli security forces have repeatedly clashed with Muslim protesters in and around the Temple Mount over the past week. The clashes were triggered by a police raid at the mosque in the run-up to the Jewish new year festival of Rosh Hashanah that turned up pipe bombs, stockpiles of rocks and firecrackers as well as a barricade at an entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli diplomats on Monday told Amman it shouldn’t “run away from responsibility” concerning the violence on the Temple Mount and that “the Jordanian Waqf broke the rules by allowing Palestinians armed with stones to sleep in al-Aqsa,” according to Israel’s Channel 2 TV.