Aug 27 2019

Israel playing ‘dirty game’ with measures against Turkey – foreign minister

Israel’s announcement that it will take measures to stop Turkish activities in East Jerusalem is a “dirty game” played in time for elections, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday.

Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, tweeted on Sunday that he had instructed his ministry to prepare measures to end Turkey’s “incitement and subversion in East Jerusalem”.

On Monday, Çavuşoğlu responded with his own tweet saying a “dirty game is once again being played in #Israel at election time”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to form a coalition after elections in April means Israelis will head back to the polls in September.

Ankara is a vocal critic of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, including the eastern side of Jerusalem, which is claimed as the capital by both the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority.

The Turkish government has funded a large number of infrastructure projects in East Jerusalem, while other projects are funded by Turkish non-governmental organisations.

"We teach the children in our Jerusalem [that] they are the legal owners of this country,” East Jerusalem-based pro-Turkey group Mirasımız said on social media in June.

Israeli daily the Jerusalem Post said this week that the Turkish government’s funding has caused “concern” in Israel for years as Turkey’s influence among the city’s Palestinian inhabitants has grown.

A year ago, the Times of Israel reported that Israel’s National Security Council was planning regulations that would restrict Turkey’s aid activities in Jerusalem.

“Will never give up supporting our Palestinian brothers&sisters in East Jerusalem, capital of #Palestine under occupation and defending the Palestinian cause”, Çavuşoğlu added in his tweet.