TEL AVIV – Thousands of Turkish anti-Israel Islamists took to the streets in Istanbul Sunday to protest Israel’s since-removed security measures on the Temple Mount, while a jingle blasting from loudspeakers declared, “Hit, hit Zionists.”
The protestors, supporters of the religiously conservative Muslim party Saadat, waved Turkish and Palestinian flags at what was billed the “Great Jerusalem Meeting” under the slogan “Israel understands a show of strength.” They also chanted “Istanbul and Jerusalem are arm-in-arm.”
The Islamist party’s leader, Temel Karamollaoglu, told the crowd that Muslims would not give up on Jerusalem, AFP reported.
One protestor said he hoped “Israel will get the message.”
“We want to show to our Muslim brothers there that we are behind them,” Sadik Sen said.
Metal detectors and security cameras first installed after Israeli-Arab terrorists smuggled guns onto the Temple Mount and opened fire on July 14, killing two Druze-Israeli policemen, sparked outrage throughout the Arab and Muslim world, which accused Israel of trying to control the holy site.
On Thursday, Israel removed the security measures and by that afternoon Muslim pilgrims returned to the site for prayers.
However, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the removal of the detectors was “not enough.”
He further slammed Israel for using “excessive force” against Muslim rioters in the days following the terror attack.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu countered by accusing Erdogan of hypocrisy.
“It would be interesting to see what Erdogan would say to the residents of northern Cyprus or to the Kurds. Erdogan is the last person who can preach to Israel,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
As of April, Turkey had arrested 47,155 people – many on trumped up charges – following an attempted coup last year. A further 63,000 were detained in what was termed Erdogan’s “witch hunt.”