Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has strongly condemned Israeli police raids at Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels following a NATO foreign ministers meeting on Wednesday, Cavusoglu said that Israel had “violated” the sanctity of the compound during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and “took a step that would disrupt its historical status.”
“We had warned them to prevent such provocations, especially during Ramadan,” during Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s visit to Türkiye following the February 6 earthquakes and his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Cavusoglu added.
“Israel should end such attacks immediately,” he added.
Noting that a “dialogue” process with Israel has restarted, Cavusoglu said: “But our engagement with Israel certainly cannot come at the expense of the Palestinian cause.”
“In that regard, we never compromise our principles or our beliefs,” he added.
Israeli police said they detained 350 Palestinians from the Al Aqsa Mosque complex, with witnesses saying they used excessive force, including tear gas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was working to calm the situation following clashes between police and worshippers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
“Israel is committed to maintaining freedom of worship, free access to all religions and the status quo and will not allow violent extremists to change that,” he said in a statement.
Israel announced various restrictions on Palestinians during the holy month of Ramadan with regard to entering Al Aqsa Mosque.
Al Aqsa Mosque in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem is Islam’s third holiest site.
It has been a frequent flashpoint, particularly during Ramadan, and clashes there in May 2021 set off the latest Israel-Gaza War that raged for 11 days.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, a move never recognized by the international community.