Turkish President Erdogan to call Israel’s President Herzog after Al-Aqsa Mosque attacks

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will hold a call with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday, after Israeli interventions on Palestinian worshippers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque last week, Turkey’s foreign minister said.

On Friday, at least 152 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

“We have already made our statements and we are continuing our contacts in response to the unacceptable attacks by Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Al-Aqsa,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara.

“Our President will have a phone call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog as well,” he added.

The call comes after Erdogan on Sunday told his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, that he condemned Israeli “intervention on worshippers” at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque and threats to its “status or spirit”. It also comes amid recent efforts by Turkey and Israel to repair their long-strained ties.

Regional rivals Turkey and Israel expelled ambassadors in 2018 and have often traded barbs over the Palestinian conflict, Turkish support of the Hamas, which runs Gaza, and other issues.

Turkey, which supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has said it believes a rapprochement with Israel will also help find a solution to the issue, but that it would not abandon commitments to Palestinians for better ties with Israel.

Earlier this month, Erdogan had told his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog, whom he also met in Ankara last month, that Ankara expected Israeli authorities to be sensitive over Al-Aqsa during Ramadan and stressed the importance of allowing Palestinians to enter the mosque.

While it has criticised the clashes in Jerusalem, Turkey’s reaction to the violence has been much calmer than in the past, when it had launched various initiatives at the UN and other platforms to condemn Israel and support Palestinians.

Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he would visit Israel and Palestine with Energy Minister Fatih Donmez in May and discuss the re-appointment of ambassadors with his Israeli counterpart during the visit.

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