Israel dismisses Erdogan's claims it was trying to take holy sites from Muslims
Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims Israel 'is using the fight against terrorism as a pretext to take al-Aqsa Mosque from the hands of Muslims'; Israel's Foreign Ministry and PMO dismiss remarks, calling them 'absurd, unfounded and distorted.'
Israel dismissed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's accusation Tuesday that it was trying taking over holy sites in Jerusalem from Muslims.
Israel's Foreign Ministry called Erdogan's remarks "absurd, unfounded and distorted."
"The days of the Ottoman Empire have passed," it continued. "Jerusalem was, is, and will always be the capital of the Jewish people. In stark contrast to the past, the government in Jerusalem is committed to security, liberty, freedom of worship and respect for the rights of all minorities."
"Those who live in glass palaces should be wary of casting stones," the statement concluded.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office sarcastically wondered "what Erdogan would say to the residents of northern Cyprus or to the Kurds," saying that the Turkish president "is the last one who can preach to Israel."
Erdogan told legislators in the Turkish parliament on Tuesday that Israel "is using the fight against terrorism as a pretext to take al-Aqsa Mosque from the hands of Muslims."
"Everyone who knows Israel is aware that restrictions on Al-Aqsa mosque are not due to safety concerns," Erdogan said in what is considered to be his strongest statement on the Temple Mount crisis since it began.
Israel had installed metal detectors outside the Jerusalem shrine, holy to both Muslims and Jews, in response to an Israeli Arab shooting attack there that killed two police officers, which Erdogan reffered to as "an incident."
It removed the devices following a wave of Muslim outrage. It said they will be replaced with "advanced technology," believed to be high resolution cameras.
Palestinians claim Israel is trying to cement control over the site. Israel emphatically denies the claims insisting the security measures are in order to prevent further attacks.