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July 14, 2020 4:38 pm

Top US Jewish Group Slams Turkey’s Erdogan Over ‘Outrageous’ Jerusalem Remark

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party during meeting at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, March 4, 2020. Photo: Turkish Presidential Press Office / Handout via Reuters.

A top US Jewish group castigated Turkey’s president on Tuesday over an “outrageous” recent remark he made about Jerusalem.

“We are appalled by the incendiary and offensive statement made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that characterized the recent conversion of the ancient church and most recently museum, Hagia Sophia, to a mosque as part of ‘return to freedom to Al-Aksa,’ implying that he seeks to take control of the holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, which is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP) said.

“To have taken such extreme action as to convert a nearly 1500-year-old church into a mosque serves only to stoke conflict,” it added. “Nothing is achieved by affronting Christians and others worldwide. Nothing is achieved by pitting religious traditions against each other.”

“Furthermore, this outrageous rhetoric regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque can and has incited violence against Israel and its citizens — and will add to tensions in the region. We condemn it strongly and urge President Erdogan to recant his inflammatory words and actions,” the CoP statement concluded.

B’nai B’rith International tweeted, “We are dismayed Turkish President Erdogan would further incite against Israel by calling for ‘liberation’ of al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem’s sacred Temple Mount. There is nothing to ‘liberate’ since Israel has always respected all faiths & Muslims are free to worship at the mosque.”

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