‘One Minute’ for Al-Aqsa Mosque

An Israeli truncheon hitting the legs of an elderly Muslim. A father subjected to violence in front of his child, in a holy place. Unfortunately, such images are real events that happened to Palestinians, who were recently targeted by Israeli forces during the ongoing holy month of Ramadan.

Some radical Jewish groups and Israeli forces once again entered Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest places in Islam, during Ramadan. Most importantly, they did this before the eyes of the whole world and under the weak objections of the Islamic countries. Without a doubt, Israel gets its courage from this silence. In fact, it would be more accurate to say “it got.” It would not be an exaggeration to say that there is a pre- and post-Recep Tayyip Erdoğan period in the Palestinian cause, as in many other issues.

Erdoğan-Herzog call

Let me explain why this is not an exaggeration. While the Palestinians were exposed to violence in front of the whole world in Al-Aqsa, regardless of whether they were elderly or children, Erdoğan was one of the few world leaders who stepped in to stop the violence. And he became the only leader who could get results. First, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that Erdoğan and Israeli President Isaac Herzog would have a phone call and that Erdoğan would discuss the Al-Aqsa attacks during the call. Hours after Çavuşoğlu’s statement, the announced call, which was closely followed by everyone, took place.

After the meeting, Al-Aqsa Mosque was at peace, at least for the time being. Because, after the Erdoğan-Herzog meeting, the news that Al-Aqsa Mosque would be closed to the entrance of Jewish visitors until the end of Ramadan appeared in the Israeli media. In other words, the messages Erdoğan gave during the call with Herzog were heard clearly in Tel Aviv.

As those who closely follow diplomacy know, the cold winds blew for a long time on the Ankara-Tel Aviv line after Israel’s Mavi Marmara raid. Even though there were strategic contacts from time to time, relations were not reestablished until Herzog’s visit to Ankara this year. It would not be wrong to say that the visit opened a new page in relations between both countries, especially when cooperation in many fields such as energy is on the agenda.

However, it is useful to underline an important point. The Islamic world, in particular, lacks a leader in the capacity of Erdoğan to intervene in the solution of the Palestinian cause. For this very reason, the diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey were perhaps an important element in defending the rights of the Palestinians. Now there is healthy diplomacy between the two countries, communication channels are open and we saw the results this week.

Critics of the resumption of diplomatic relations with Israel should not forget this important point. Erdoğan, like many other leaders, proved once again that he is not a leader who will stop supporting the Palestinian cause by using relations with Israel as an excuse. On the contrary, he tried to turn these relations in favor of Palestine. With so many urgent issues on the table, he used the channels opened with Herzog for occupied Jerusalem.

‘Turkey will never ignore’

The expressions that Erdoğan used at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) group meeting on April 20 actually sums up everything:

“Our relations with Israel do not mean that we will turn a blind eye to what is happening. We will fulfill our history and our faith. Even if the whole world remains silent, we will voice our objections with the loudest voice.”

That’s what happens. Turkey not only uses all the tools of diplomacy to protect its own interests but also continues to be the voice of the oppressed with the power brought by diplomacy.

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