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Turkey’s passion for Jerusalem does little for Palestinians

Despite the frequent and lofty promises by Turkish officials, major steps that would seriously contribute to the Palestinian economy hinge on Turkey’s attention to sensitive points in its relations with Israel.
Demonstrators wave flags during a protest against the recent killings of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza-Israel border and the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, in Istanbul, Turkey May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - UP1EE5I1A5E18

Though Turkey’s close interest in East Jerusalem appears to be bothering some countries in the region, it is far from meeting the expectations of Palestinians and effecting changes on the ground. After Turkey signed an accord with Israel in 2016 to normalize diplomatic relations, it immediately introduced an ambitious and well-publicized drive to boost investments in the West Bank, increase tourism to East Jerusalem and lift the blockade on Gaza. There was a significant increase in visits to Jerusalem, but it was not the remedy Palestinians were seeking, and the real winner in these tours is actually Israel.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported June 1 that Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are concerned by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s claim to be the guardian of East Jerusalem and have warned Israel. Turks are reportedly trying to buy real estate in East Jerusalem, Turkish civil society has stepped up its assistance and Turks have been seen participating in protests after Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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