Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to make Jerusalem his own city and for that he will spare no money nor hardship.
Turkey’s strong man and ruler, who according to the former Israeli Minister of Defence, Moshe Ya’alon, wants to impose the “rule of the one absolute ruler establishing, not only in Turkey, a new Ottoman Empire based on the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood”, started his onslaught and infiltration to the sacred town to all monotheistic religions in 2004, that just being merely a year after his rise to power.
From that very date till today, according to the Israeli newspaper “Israel Hayom”, approximately 63 million USD were channelled via Turkish NGO’s and the Turkish Government to Palestinian organisations for “the defence and support of Muslim culture to promote and enhance the Muslim character and identity of Jerusalem”, so as to further establish the Turkish presence and influence in the city, as claimed and supported by the Arutz Sheva website, in order to undermine tensions.
Israel knew everything all along and from the first instance. Still, up until 2010, that is up until the Mavi Marmara incident, Israel and Turkey were close allies. Within this relationship framework, Erdogan held a “free hand” so that he could funnel his Muslim “charity & charitable work” towards the Palestinians. When President Erdogan revealed his true intentions to the Government of Israel in 2010, the result was an immediate disruption and severance of diplomatic ties and relations for six whole years between the two countries but by then, he had time to set up support networks in Jerusalem and Gaza with the very support of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, has from the very first day that he took up the Prime Minister’s office, taken up the role of the protector of the Palestinian people and he is thought, by many, to have succeed.
Still, for the first time, he openly stated claims on Jerusalem and especially, on theTemple Mount, where in ancient times, the Jewish Holy Temple could be found and on which ground, the Muslim shrines of the Dome of the Rock and of the Al-Aqsa Mosque are and when at the beginning of October, for over 4 days length, 50 Islamic organisations, all closely connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, met in Istanbul to discuss about the “dangers that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing by Israel”. Among the main participants and speakers was the vice-president of the AKP party (President ‘s Recep Tayyip Erdogan party), Yasin Aktay, who called for joint Muslim action among brothers because if “Al-Aqsa Mosques is in danger and in a perilous condition then, the whole of humanity is in danger and at risk, sinceAl-Quds [n.n Jerusalem] stands as the only example of co-existence between different peoples and religions”.
It is imperative, that we have to note that the recognised “Keeper & Guardian” of the Christian and Muslim religious sites in Jerusalem is the standing King of Jordan. The standing monarch, King Abdullah II of Jordan, is married to Queen Rania of Jordan, whom is of Palestinian origin and the King himself is considered to be a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed (of the 43rd generation). Claiming to be the “Keeper & Guardian” of the sites , Erdogan does not only try to meddle in Israel’s internal affairs but to those of the entire Arab world, by arguing against the very standing, both political and religious, of one of the Prophet’s blood relatives who reigns over not just the Jordanian people but also of the Palestinian people.
Turkey found ample way to escalate and further its involvement in Israel’s internal affairs and to the Jerusalem situation in November 2016 due to a legislative bill passed that prohibited the use of hand-held loudspeakers for calling out the Imam during prayer time. Then, Mehmet Görmez, Head of the Turkish Republic Turkish Directorate, called the incumbent Bill as “a total rejection of Islam and Muslims in Jerusalem” and claimed that “this cannot be accepted under any circumstances” and this was applicable to all practising religions. Görmez chose to make these statements from Qatar, where he was on an official visit. A few days later, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his interview on the Israeli Channel 2, making reference to the war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, he made a comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany.
Approximately six months of relative calm followed up until the beginning of May 2017, when the Turksih President decided to dring about a change of policy by inciting rather extremely “anti-Israeli” rhetoric during an event regarding Jerusalem’s vakufs. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called upon on all Muslims to pay homage by the thousands to Jerusalem and accused Israel that without any remorse or punishment by the international community was enforcing and keeping in place an Apartheid policy. At the same time, he argued that “Turkey will not allow any hindrance to the morning Ezan) (the morning call to the faithful for the daily prayery) making a direct mention to the Bill passed in the Israeli Knesset στον νόμο που τελικά ψήφισε η ισραηλινή Βουλή.
The statement made by H.E. Mrs. Irit Ben Abba, Ambassador of Israel to urge Helenic Republic during her current interview to the AMPA regarding Israeli – Turkish relations is quite indicative.
” It is almost just, past, one year since we smoothed our bilateral relations. (…) The whole process has been very slow. We are quite concerned by President’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements made during the last two weeks. In his last statement, he was calling all Muslims to go to Jerusalem. There was great reaction by PM Netanyahu. All I can say is that we re-established diplomatic relations and that its very important”.
The Israelis, seem to have, of course, full knowledge and insight of Erdogan’s plans regarding Jerusalem, palns which they shared through the publication of the “Israel Hayom” on 21st of June.
” Turkish institutions and organisations are channelling millions of USD to Eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount area, in an attempt to bolster Turkey’s diplomatic and political position in relation to being the main Muslim element and power in Jerusalem” as stated in the Israel Hayom artcile which is based on an rather extensive and detailed report.
Some of the funds were transferred via TİKA – Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, a government agency under the direct control of Dr. Serdar Çam, a close associate of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The same article claims that the Turkish Governement has developed extensive and rather intricate bonds with extremist islamist elements within the State of Israel, including the Norther Wing of the Islamic Movement in Isreal, which is under the leadership of the Hamas Movement supporter, Raed Salah) and the extremist ex-Mufti and religious leader of Jerusalm, Ekrima Sa’id Sabri.
Part of the funds that have been from Turkey to Eastern Jerusalem via TİKA were used in development or reconstruction projects. Still, some of these funds were used to cover travel expenses of Islamic militants to the Temple Mount, in order for theme to provoke and support extremist actions against the Jewish population.
The co-operation between Turkey and the Islamic groups, in the area of Jerusalem seems to be part of a concentrated effort to replave Jordan, which still stands as the recognised Keeper and Takecarer” of all religious and spiritual sites in the city, as stated in the article.
Israeli journalist, Nadav Shragai, in an opinion article published in the “Israel Hayom” entitled “The neutralization of Turkish influence”, refers to the “unholy Triad” of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, sheikh Raed Shalach and the former Grand Mufti, Ihkrima Shampri. who fantasises about the creation of an Islamic Caliphate in the region, having Jerusalem, as its basis.
Turkish funds, he has argued, continue to be directed directly to the Temple Mount, so as further weaken, the position, overall control and dominance of Israel in Jerusalem, and as to further enhance Islam’s role in the city and especially, at Temple Mount, which according to the article’s editor is “the holiest site for Judaisim but merely the third holiest site for Islam”. In his article, the editor is suggesting ways and means to counter Turkey’s economic influence and penetration to the Holy City, by making references to of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s vision for the revival and the re-instatement of the Ottoman Empire in Jerusalem.