Jul 06 2018

Erdoğan’s Jerusalem incursion must be stopped - analyst

Israel must halt a dangerous incursion into East Jerusalem by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government and Islamic radicals, David Weinberg said in the Jerusalem Post.

The operation by Turkey, which is funding extremist groups in the city and preaching hatred of Israel, has reached alarming proportions. It is backed by tens of millions of dollars in funding, said Weinberg, who is vice president and a senior research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies (JISS).

Turkey is using its aid agencies, which include TIKA, and is cooperating with Hamas and other Islamist radicals to usurp the influence of secular Palestinians and take over the city. Many of the latter have left the area and posters of Erdoğan and Turkish flags can be seen everywhere, including at the Temple Mount, Weinberg said.

Israeli intelligence has now begun looking at how the funding is transferred from Turkey to Israel and the government must stop its flow, Weinberg said. The campaign is being led from Turkish diplomatic offices in the city under the management of a former adviser to Erdoğan, he said.

Turkish activists are also aggressively harassing Israelis who visit the Temple Mount, Weinberg said.

The campaign by Erdoğan in East Jerusalem is part of his concerted efforts to be the representative of all Muslims across the globe, Weinberg said.

Erdoğan has repeatedly labelled israel as a terrorist state and expelled its most senior diplomatic officers in Turkey after recent riots on the border with the West Bank and Gaza. Many of the president's ardent supporters are convinced that he will increase Turkish power to rival that of the United States, Russia and China.

Turkish aid groups, backed by diplomatic missions, are also very active in the Balkans, northern Syria -- which Turkey invaded in Janaury -- Africa and Central Asia. TIKA and other groups spend billions of dollars a year on aid to restore and sponsor mosques, support local communities and renovate Ottoman monuments.