Israel Tells Erdogan to Mind His Own Business

YERUSHALAYIM -
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters/Umit Bektas/File)

The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued an unusually blunt rejoinder to a baleful statement made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Israel will pay a price for its actions at Har HaBayis.

“Israel […] will see itself suffer the most damage,” Erdogan told members of his AK Party on Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, Israel released the following: “The statement today by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to his party activists is absurd, unfounded and distorted. He would be better off dealing with the difficult problems facing his own country.

”The days of the Ottoman Empire have passed. Jerusalem was, is, and will always be the capital of the Jewish people. In stark contrast to the past, the government in Jerusalem is committed to security, liberty, freedom of worship and respect for the rights of all minorities.

”Those who live in glass palaces should be wary of casting stones,” it concluded.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office put out an accompanying comment in the same spirit, saying, “It would be interesting to see what Erdogan would say to the residents of northern Cyprus or to the Kurds. Erdogan is the last one who can preach to Israel.”

The Turkish leader did, however, acknowledge Israel’s decision to remove the metal detectors and recently installed cameras from the site on Tuesday, pending a new arrangement.

“I have heard of Israel’s decision to remove the metal detectors, and I hope the rest will follow,” Erdogan said. “We expect Israel to take steps for the peace of the region.”

The tensions in Israel have kindled protests in Turkey. Turkish media said some protesters kicked the doors and threw stones at a shul in Istanbul. Erdogan called for calm and said attacking places of worship was “a big mistake.”

“We have no issues with the houses of worship of Christians or Jews. We have taken the necessary measures against the attacks planned on synagogues and temples in our country,” he told the parliamentarians.

Erdogan said he spoke to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and told him that “we can also not accept Jews going to synagogues and temples being treated as terrorists,” he said.