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Turkey and Israel trade barbs, as Erdogan says Jerusalem losing 'Islamic character'

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel on Wednesday of inflicting damage on Jerusalem's "Islamic character", in comments likely to further inflame regional tensions in a dispute over the Al-Aqsa mosque.

"Israel is harming Jerusalem's Islamic character," said Erdogan, whose roots are in political Islam, at an education conference in Ankara. "Nobody should expect us to remain silent against the double standards in Jerusalem."

Israel's foreign ministry responded swiftly with a stern statement denouncing the Turkish government and accusing it of behaving as though the Ottoman Empire still existed.

"It's absurd that the Turkish government, which occupies Northern Cyprus, brutally represses the Kurdish minority and jails journalists, lectures Israel, the only true democracy in the region," spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.

Turkey has troops stationed in Northern Cyprus, is battling armed Kurdish separatists in its southeast region and has jailed large numbers of journalists, academics and others it suspects of having supported an abortive military coup last year.

Note EU-Digest: one might not always agree with Israel, but they are the only true Democracy in the Middle East. Present day Turkey under Erdogan's leadership can certainly not claim to be a democratic country which respects human rights or the freedom of the press. 

Read more:Turkey and Israel trade barbs, as Erdogan says Jerusalem losing 'Islamic character' | Middle East Eye

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