An interesting true story I want to share with followers regarding the Ottomans and Jerusalem. As the Ottomans withdrew from the city in 1917, they left behind 53 soldiers to protect the holy sites from looters. They stood guard even as British troops took control of the city. Over time the 53 man rearguard vanished. Some may have returned home, some sources say they remained and died over the years due to natural causes. Corporal Hasan stayed in Jerusalem and was the last of his regiment. Those who knew him said that he would be the first to arrive and the last to leave Al Aqsa Mosque. He would also patrol the perimeter of the area around the Temple Mount to the Dome of the Rock. He did this everyday until he passed away in 1982.
Jerusalem is a unique city. It is very special to all three major religions. As the Ottoman presence was ending and the British were victorious, sources cite the commander of the British forces disarming and walking into Jerusalem as a civilian instead of a soldier. Al-Quds has always been a sacred place for the Turks, their admiration and reverence for the city is just as strong today as it was during Ottoman times.
I wanted to share this story as some soft background context because you’ll hear Turkish officials refer to Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque from time to time as the Israeli-Palestinian issue has once again dominated the news cycle. The protection of Jerusalem as sacred ground for all three religions and the preservation of Al Aqsa Mosque are very high priority issues for Türkiye.
The photo below is of Corporal Hasan, the last Ottoman guardian of Al-Quds. As a man that dedicated his life to protecting the holy sites of all three religions, may Allah bless his soul.