Turkey calls on Israel to free Palestinians arrested at Aqsa mosque

Turkey expressed concern on Monday over tension created around al-Haram al-Sharif.

Turkey calls on Israel to free Palestinians arrested at Aqsa mosque

Turkey expressed concern on Monday over tension created around al-Haram al-Sharif.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement in which it expressed deep concern over the tension going on around al-Haram al-Sharif for about a month and that escalated on Sunday.

Israeli police and special forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday morning, firing rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters.

The ministry said that measures had to be taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents that could harm efforts aiming to ensure peace and stability in the region.

"Turkey expects people who were arrested during Sunday's incidents, including executives of the Palestinian National Administration, and the Islam Foundation, to be released as soon as possible," the ministry said.

The ministry said Turkey had been closely monitoring the incidents from the outset as the only Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member state that had a consulate general in Jerusalem.

In its statement, the ministry said it had called on the parties to take lessons from the saddening incidents of the past and refrain from provocative acts that could escalate tension.

Sunday's incidents had indicated that parties were not approaching the issue seriously and sensitively, the ministry said.

The ministry also said the number of people injured and arrested during the incidents were raising Turkey's concerns.

In its statement, the ministry said Turkey's consul general in Jerusalem personally visited al-Haram al-Sharif on Sunday, and met executives there.

Also, Turkey's State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc would travel to Morocco on Tuesday to participate in the International Jerusalem Forum in Rabat on October 28-29.

"Sensitivities regarding al-Haram al-Sharif, one of the most sacred places of the Islam world, should be taken into consideration," the ministry said.

The ministry also said that parties should refrain from provocative acts.

At least 30 people, mostly Palestinians, have been wounded since fierce clashes between Palestinian activists using stones, shoes and bare fists and gun-armed Israeli troops in and around Al-Aqsa mosque.

The clashes erupted earlier Sunday when Israeli troops using stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets broke into the courtyard of the mosque, beating Palestinian worshippers with buts of guns and clubs.

The Israeli troops encircled some 200 worshippers inside the sacred site.

Up to 20 Palestinians were nabbed by the Israeli forces during the confrontations that turned the courtyard of the mosque into a battle ground of blasting ordnance and billowing smoke.

Among the detainees was Hatem Abdel Qader, in charge of the Jerusalem file in the mainstream Palestinian organization, Fatah.

Agencies

Last Mod: 26 Ekim 2009, 16:06
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