Turkey: Thousands denounce US move on Jerusalem

Turkish citizens in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and elsewhere held protests following Friday prayer

Turkey: Thousands denounce US move on Jerusalem

By Ayse Humeyra Atilgan


Thousands of Turkish citizens took to the streets on Friday against a U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Following the Friday prayers, people across Turkey gathered outside the central mosques and chanted anti-Israel and pro-Palestine slogans.

In the country's most populous city of Istanbul, various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) held a huge demonstration outside the historical Fatih Mosque.

Protesters were carrying Palestine flags and banners which read: "Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is ours and will remain ours" and "Al-Quds is the honor of Muslims".

The group later marched from Beyazit square towards Sarachane district, chanting anti-Israel slogans and condemning the US move.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The controversial decision created anger among Muslims and a number of demonstrations were held all around the world.

Also outside Eyup Sultan mosque in Istanbul, around 70 NGOs organized a protest, which was also supported by the Eyup Mayor Remzi Aydin.

Similar protests were held almost in all districts of Istanbul both on the Asian and European sides.

In Turkish capital Ankara, several NGOs including -- Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) and Confederation of Public Servants Trade Unions -- held a big protest.

"It is an attempt to legitimize the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands," said the trade union's head Ali Yalcin.

‘Act and support’

He called on the international community to "act" and "support Palestine" against the US decision.

Yalcin also suggested Turkey should suspend its ties with Israel.

The Turkish ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s Deputy Chairman Ravza Kavakci, along with some other AK Party deputies, read out a press statement outside Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara.

"Turkish Republic, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and our citizens do not recognize this decision, which violates the international law and is against the United Nations resolutions," Kavakci said.

The U.S. administration has been urged to reverse its decision and abide by relevant resolutions and laws.

Also in western provinces of Izmir, Aydin, Manisa and Denizli, citizens held protest demonstrations.

Outside the Konak Yali Mosque in Izmir, people waved Turkish and Palestine flags and photos of Al-Aqsa mosque, which served as the Muslim’s first Qibla [direction of prayer].

They stressed that Jerusalem belongs to Muslims.

The central Anatolian provinces of Konya, Kayseri, Nigde, Kirsehir, and Nevsehir also saw similar demonstrations.

The crowds who gathered outside the central Sabanci Mosque in southern Adana province chanted: "Al-Quds [Jerusalem] will never be the capital of Israel."

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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