Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told citizens in his country this week that Muslims need to assert dominance over Jerusalem.
“We Muslims lost our way towards Jerusalem,” he proclaimed. “The warer of our eyes froze making us blind, and our hearts that was destined to beat for Jerusalem in now instead conditioned for rivalry being in a state of war with each other.”
Erdogan was in the city to promote numerous service projects, but the speech continued to be about Jerusalem.
“When you mention the worse ascension, the first thing that comes to mind is Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is located in the Old City of Jerusalem and is said to be the third holiest site in Islam. It sits right on Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism. Israel is in control of the Old City, but the mosque is controlled by Jordanian and Palestinian officials. Despite this, Erdogan told his countrymen to “ask God to restore the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the infallibility of the Muslims.”
Erdogan is known for his anti-Semitic views. Breitbart London documented the many times Erdogan spewed his anti-Israel rhetoric since he was mayor of Istanbul. He has previously suggested that Turkey must restore the Ottoman Empire, which collapsed after World War I. The American Jewish Congress awarded then-Prime Minister Erdogan an award for attempting to seek peace in the Middle East, but withdrew it in July 2014 after he said Israel’s attacks on Gaza amounted to genocide against the Palestinians. A few days later, the Israel Tax Authority inspected a package from Turkey to Gaza and found ball bearings – material that could be used in bombs or other explosives – inside a chocolate mixer. He even said Israel was worse than Adolf Hitler. During a mine disaster protest, Erdogan called one protester “Israeli sperm,” and his security personnel beat the protester after the confrontation.
The open hatred espoused towards Israel appears to have encouraged anti-Semitic behavior in Turkey. In the summer of 2014, protesters threw stones at Israel’s consulate in Istanbul. The people wrote, “Die out murderer Jew” on the building. Protesters in the capital of Ankara also targeted the consulate, but the riot police did not do anything to stop them. Bulnet Yildirim, the head of the Turkish IHH NGO, said that “Israel is acting like a spoiled child” and the “Turkish Jews will pay dearly” for Israel’s actions against Gaza.