VIDEO - Some 500 pro-Islamic Turks have held an anti-Israel protest in Istanbul over violence at a Jerusalem holy site claimed by both Arabs and Jews.
The protesters on Monday marched toward the heavily guarded Israeli Consulate and burned an Israeli flag, chanting "We will protect al-Aqsa Mosque." Muslims regard al-Aqsa as Islam's third-holiest site.
Relations between Israel and Turkey - a key Muslim ally - have soured since Israel's war in Gaza at the beginning of this year.
Earlier this month, Turkey canceled a military exercise in which Israeli pilots were planned to participate. Tensions deepened after Turkey's state-run TV aired a drama series that portrays Israeli soldiers as cruel and repressive.
Israeli flag on fire in Istanbul (Photo: AFP)
Monday's protest in Istanbul was the second of its kind in the city in less than a month. Some three weeks ago, in the previous wave of Temple Mount riots, thousands of Turks marched through the city carrying Palestinian flags and pictures of the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli flags were also torched during the previous protest.
As Turkey pulls away from Israel, it also seems to be boosting ties with Syria. The two recently signed a number of cooperation treaties, and have even agreed to carry out a broad joint military exercise.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday started a two-day visit in Iran, where he plans to discuss energy deals, as well as Tehran's nuclear program, with the Islamic Republic's leaders.
In an interview with the British Guardian Monday morning Erdogan once again spoke out against Israel and accused Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of threatening to use nuclear weapons in Gaza, and called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "our friend".
Nonetheless, Erdogan expressed confidence in Turkey's strategic ties with Jerusalem.