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Turkey, Israel in verbal spat over Jerusalem

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments on Jerusalem and the Israel-Palestine conflict have cast dark clouds over Turkish-Israeli relations.
ANKARA, TURKEY - APRIL 17: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gives a referendum victory speech to his supporters at the Presidential Palace on April 17, 2017 in Ankara Turkey. Erdogan declared victory in Sunday's historic referendum that will grant sweeping powers to the presidency, hailing the result as a "historic decision. 51.4 per cent per cent of voters had sided with the "Yes" campaign, ushering in the most radical change to the country's political system in modern times.Turkey's main opposition calls

One can never be sure what's going through Recep Tayyip Erdogan's mind when he lashes out at Israel. At a conference on Palestine in Istanbul May 8, Turkey’s mercurial president criticized Israel for “racist and discriminatory” practices against Palestinians. Erdogan added that “the only solution" is "the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, along the lines of 1967.” Erdogan also called upon the world’s Muslims to visit Jerusalem “in support of Palestinians.”

Israel’s response came almost immediately. First, the Israeli Foreign Ministry tweeted, “Those who systematically violate human rights in their own country shouldn't preach to region's only true democracy.” Meanwhile, true to his cerebral style, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin responded to Erdogan’s remarks by claiming that Jerusalem has had a “Jewish majority since Ottoman rule” and that “Israel will continue to ensure freedom of religion for all.” (There is no consensus among historians regarding Rivlin’s point about a Jewish majority during Ottoman times.)

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