Erdogan slams Israel's 'excessive' use of force in Jerusalem

Erdogan slams Israel's 'excessive' use of force in Jerusalem
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Israel's excessive use of force in Jerusalem on Saturday, in comments made as chairman of the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
2 min read
22 July, 2017
Erdogan currently heads the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation [Getty]

Turkish President  denounced the "excessive" use of force by Israeli security forces in deadly clashes over sensitive Jerusalem holy site on Saturday.

Erdogan said that he was speaking in his capacity as the current chairman of the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) whose chairmanship Turkey currently holds.

"I condemn Israel's insistence on its position despite all warnings... and the excessive use of force by Israeli forces against our brothers gathered for Friday prayers," he said in a statement.

Three Palestinians were killed in the clashes a day earlier.

Three Israelis were stabbed to death in the West Bank by a 19-year-old Palestinian who was then shot by a neighbour.

Tensions have risen to boiling point over new metal detectors installed by Israel as security measures around the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Israel began installing metal detectors at entrances to the site on Sunday following an attack that killed two police officers.

The director-general of the United Nations, António Guterres “expressed concern” over Friday’s violence and urged political leaders to deescalate the situation.

A spokesperson for Guterres said the director-general “deeply deploresthe death of three Palestinians in clashes today with the Israeli security forces and calls for these incidents to be fully investigated.”

The clashes prompted the Palestinian Authority to seize all cooperation with Israel until it ceded ground on the issue of metal detectors at al-Aqsa compound entrances, Palestine's president said.

On Thursday, Erdogan urged his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin to swiftly remove metal detectors to end the tensions.

Erdogan reaffirmed in the statement that the restrictions were "unacceptable" and should be removed "immediately".

"I urge the international community to immediately take action to remove practices that restrict freedom of worship at Haram al-Sharif," he said.

Last year, Turkey and Israel ended a rift triggered by Israel's deadly storming in 2010 of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead. 

But Erdogan, who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause, is still often critical of Israeli policy and his comments were among his toughest on Israel since the reconciliation deal.