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May 11, 2017 1:36 am

Jerusalem Mayor Invites Turkish President Erdogan to See Israeli Capital for Himself

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photo: Wikipedia.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to come and visit Israel’s capital as it marks the fiftieth anniversary since the city’s reunification following the June 1967 Six-Day War.

Barkat issued the invitation to Erdogan on Wednesday amidst a row over the latest antisemitic speech by the Turkish leader, in which he described Palestinian terrorism against Israelis as “justified resistance” and railed against Israel’s “racist and discriminatory” policies towards the Palestinians.

“It is surprising that Erdogan, who leads a state that occupied Jerusalem for 400 years, wants to preach to us about how to manage our city,” Barkat said. “Unlike during the Turkish occupation, Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty is a flourishing, open and free city that allows freedom of religion and worship for all. In recent years, record numbers of Muslims have visited the Temple Mount and held prayers, exercising their absolute freedom of religion under Israeli sovereignty.”

“I invite Erdogan to visit our city and to be amazed by the reality on the ground – a reality that has changed only for the better since the Turks ruled here,” Barkat concluded.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also weighed in on Erodgan’s comments, saying that “for the last 150 years there has been a Jewish majority in Jerusalem. Even under the Ottoman Empire there was a Jewish majority in Jerusalem.”

Erdogan, a former mayor of Istanbul and Turkish prime minister who aspires to lead the Muslim world, rarely misses an opportunity to attack the Jewish state. Over the last month, Erdogan has amassed unprecedented political power, following his victory in an April constitutional referendum, and could well remain president until 2030. Nearly 49 percent of Turks voted against Erdogan’s proposal, illustrating the deep divisions in the country over his continued rule.

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