Israel summoned Turkey’s ambassador for a clarification meeting after Erdogan’s attack.
The director of Israel’s foreign ministry, Yuval Rotem, met on Tuesday with Turkish Ambassador to Israel Kemal Okem for what was termed a clarification meeting in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attack on Israel.
Israel stressed it would not accept such rhetoric, but added after the verbal exchange that the incident was over and that it had no desire to develop an escalating diplomatic crisis with Turkey. Israel and Turkey had recently reestablished relations.
Erdogan urged Muslims to swarm to the Temple Mount in a show of solidarity with Palestinians as he called Israel “racist and discriminatory.”
“Each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us,” he stated.
In response, Israel called him a human rights violator, who should not lecture the sole true regional democracy.
“Those who systematically violate human rights in their own country should not preach to the only true democracy in the region,” said the Foreign Ministry statement Monday. “Israel consistently protects total freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians – and will continue to do so despite the baseless slander launched against it.”
Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev called to “put Erdogan in his place. He is upholding the honor of his country and his citizens, and we too must uphold our honor as a country.”
Speaking to IDF Radio on Tuesday, former Israeli minister Gidon Sa’ar said the reconciliation with Turkey was a mistake, and that Jerusalem’s former close relationship with Ankara will never return as long as Erdogan is in power.
“Whoever thinks this was a singular occurrence is wrong,” Sa’ar said. ”Erdogan is no partner of Israel, he is an ally of Hamas [the Islamic terror group].”
However, Israeli Minister of Construction Yoav Galant dismissed Erdogan’s comments as mere rhetoric.
“The fact that he makes inflammatory remarks from time to time for political reasons, let him talk. We know how to talk as well,” Galant told IDF Radio. “When it comes to practical issues, I thinks the Turks have other interests –Israeli gas and Israeli tourism,” relating to the results of the reconciliation pact between the two countries.
Dore Gold, who previously headed the Foreign Ministry, told Israel Radio that the country must respond forcefully to any “problematic statements by the Turkish leadership.” He added that Erdogan’s comments sound similar to the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology.
Last August, Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize diplomatic ties following a six-year rift in their relationship, but Erdogan has a history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic remarks.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News