World, Middle East

Erdogan slams world for 'failure' in Jerusalem test

Thousands gather at Istanbul’s Yenikapi fairgrounds to support Palestinian people

Merve Aydoğan   | 18.05.2018
Erdogan slams world for 'failure' in Jerusalem test Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets people as they attend a rally in solidarity with Palestinians after Israeli aggression against civilians on Gaza border, on May 18, 2018 at Yenikapi fairgrounds in Istanbul, Turkey.


By Halil Demir and Sefa Mutlu 


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday slammed the whole world for failing to stand up to Israeli violence against unarmed Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Speaking at a mass rally in Istanbul's Yenikapi fairgrounds that was held to show support for Palestinians, Erdogan said: "To be fair, the Islamic world failed in the Jerusalem test. Not only the Islamic world but the entire world failed in the Jerusalem test."

“Do you know that Jerusalem is not just a city. Jerusalem is a symbol, a test, a qiblah. If we can’t protect our first qiblah, we can’t be confident about the future of last qiblah,” Erdogan added.

Highlighting the significance of the holy city, the president equated Jerusalem with Canakkale (Gallipoli), saying: “Jerusalem is same as Canakkale for us”.

“We are facing struggle against Zionist and Zionism. Even such a catastrophe, unfortunately, was not enough for Muslims to come through,” Erdogan said as he criticized the Israeli violence on Palestinians.

“I separate Zionists from Jews. The main struggle is against Zionism and Zionists,” he said, adding: “Their hostility to Muslims is not at all forgiven.”

"Israel has been doing whatever it wishes since 1947, and continues its way in the same reckless way today. We cannot unsee these facts. With the latest decision the U.S. took, once again the privacy of Jerusalem was attacked."

Erdogan said while Al-Aqsa Mosque was increasingly becoming polluted by radical Zionist schemes, the Al-Khalil mosque remains occupied and all Muslims can do is condemn.

"The only language a persecutor with no morality understands is power. If the whole world, Muslims unite against this cruelty, believe me, the support of the lobbies that Israel rests its back on would not be enough to sustain its recklessness.”

Erdogan urged both Israeli and American people to stand up against the cruelty, and warned that the terror state Israel may hit back at the U.S. one day.

He said: “I am therefore calling on the American people to raise their voices against the wrongs of the [U.S.] administration.

"We also call on the Israeli people to take action against the disaster that their own government is dragging them into.”  

The rally was launched under the theme "Condemning Oppression, Supporting al-Quds [Jerusalem]".

A number of huge screen televisions were set up at the rally for the crowd to watch the platform from where Erdogan spoke.

Aside from Erdogan, Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli, Grand Unity Party (BBP) Mustafa Destici, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Jordanian King Abdullah II were also present at the rally.

At the end of the rally attended by some 500,000 people, Ali Erbas, head of Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), said prayers in support of the Palestinians.

Some 20,100 police officers were deployed on the ground, 5,200 of whom were positioned in hotels and on roadways while another 14,900 are on duty at the Yenikapi fairgrounds.

Also, four police helicopters, four boats and 160 armed vehicles were deployed.

Separately, Turkey and Palestine flags were distributed among the crowd.

On Monday, at least 62 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred and hundreds more injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the Gaza-Israel fence.

Monday’s demonstration had coincided with Israel’s 70th anniversary -- an event Palestinians refer to as “the Catastrophe” -- and the relocation of Washington’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

Since the Gaza rallies began on March 30, more than 100 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred by Israeli army gunfire.

Last week, the Israeli government claimed the ongoing protests constituted a “state of war” in which international humanitarian law does not apply.

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