Istanbul (July 31, 2017): Thousands of people in Istanbul marched a rally to show solidarity with the Palestinians and to protest measures taken by Israel in Jerusalem.
Israel had enraged Turkey by installing metal detectors and security cameras at the Haram al-Sharif holy site in Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following a July 14 attack in which gunmen killed two policemen.
The move sparked Muslim protests and deadly unrest, and last week the Israeli government removed the detectors and cameras. But feelings remain high in Turkey, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying the removal of the detectors was “not enough”.
Under the slogan of “Israel understands a show of strength”, the rally was held at the vast Yenikapi Square by the Sea of Marmara which has been the scene of many of Erdogan’s biggest meetings.
A mass of people, waving Palestinian and Turkish flags, chanted slogans such as “Istanbul and Jerusalem are arm-in- arm”.
Last year Turkey and Israel ended a rift triggered by Israel’s deadly storming in 2010 of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead. The two sides have since embarked on a close energy cooperation to pipe Israeli gas to Turkey.
Since the reconciliation deal, Erdogan, who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause, is still often critical of Israeli policy and his comments on the crisis have been among his toughest on Israel.