Erdogan urges Israel to end restrictions at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Ankara: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday condemned Israel’s excessive use of force against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, urging an immediate end to its new restrictions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

It is “unacceptable” that Israel imposed new restrictions including placing metal detectors at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa compound, President Erdogan said in a written statement released on the Presidency website.

“As the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Term President, I condemn Israeli forces’ use of excess force on our brothers gathered for Friday prayer, the Friday prayer not being allowed in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and Israel’s persistence in its attitude despite all warnings,” he said.

The Turkish president urged Israel to return to the status quo before the latest move.

Erdogan also called for the international community to immediately end the measures that restrict freedom of worship.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held a phone conversation on Friday with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Malki about the recent tension after Israel imposed restrictions on the Al-Aqsa compound.

Israel’s placement of metal detectors on the site this week triggered protests that left at least three Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded as clashes between Palestinian and Israeli forces broke out in several cities across the West Bank after Friday prayers.