ANQARA, Tuesday, January 03, 2023 (WAFA) – Turkey today condemned Israeli far-right minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s incursion into Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
“We are concerned by the provocative act by the Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir on Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police and we condemn it,” Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a press release.
Ankara called on Israel “to act responsibly to prevent such provocations that will violate the status and sanctity of holy places in Jerusalem and escalate the tension in the region.”
Israel’s far-right national security minister Ben-Gvir barged his way into Al-Aqsa Mosque's courtyards in the early morning hours, a move that bounds to inflame tensions.
A video posted on social media shows Ben-Gvir touring the courtyards with a heavy police escort.
This is not the first time that Ben-Gvir has stormed Al-Aqsa. In May last year, accompanied by his wife and son, Ben-Gvir posted a picture calling for the destruction of the site to "establish a synagogue on the mountain".
Since Israel occupied the site following the 1967 war, Jewish prayer at the site has been forbidden, though far-right settlers such as Ben-Gvir (some of whom want to demolish Al-Aqsa and replace it with a third Jewish temple) have frequently prayed there under strict security in recent years.
When former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon made a similar trip to the site in 2000, it sparked the Second Intifada Palestinian uprising.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is considered the third holiest site in Islam.
Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.