east jerusalem arabs erdogan_WEB_FLASH 90Photo: Flash 90

Israel to counter Turkish influence in Jerusalem

Israel has lost patience with Turkey over the Ankara’s alleged efforts to spread its influence over the pre-dominantly Arab-populated-neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yisrael Katz, who also serves as Jerusalem’s top intelligence official, instructed his Ministry’s directors to prepare a comprehensive plan to proactively thwart all of the Turkish government’s activities in the Israeli capital.

Once the initiative has been drafted, Katz is expected to present it to the Security Cabinet for approval, due to the sensitivity of measures that are likely to lead to Turkish reprisals.

According to senior sources who spoke to TV7 on condition of anonymity, the Israeli counter-offensive will target several Non-Governmental Organizations that receive financial aid and operate on orders issued directly by the office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Israel has lost patience with Turkey over the Ankara’s alleged efforts to spread its influence over the pre-dominantly Arab-populated-neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yisrael Katz, who also serves as Jerusalem’s top intelligence official, instructed his Ministry’s directors to prepare a comprehensive plan to proactively thwart all of the Turkish government’s activities in the Israeli capital.

Once the initiative has been drafted, Katz is expected to present it to the Security Cabinet for approval, due to the sensitivity of measures that are likely to lead to Turkish reprisals.

According to senior sources who spoke to TV7 on condition of anonymity, the Israeli counter-offensive will target several Non-Governmental Organizations that receive financial aid and operate on orders issued directly by the office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One of the organizations is the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, TiKA, which has a reported annual budget of some 12 million dollars specifically earmarked for its activities in East Jerusalem. TiKA’s avowed objective is to “prevent the Judaization of Jerusalem;” a goal President Erdogan referred to – on multiple occasions has made repeated mention of in recent years – as vital for the protection of the city’s so-called “Islamic Character.”

During A preliminary meeting at his Jerusalem office Minister Katz underscored that “(Israel) will take all (necessary) steps in order to bring down the political base of the Turkish activity in East Jerusalem.” He stated unequivocally that “Israel is the sovereign in Jerusalem,” and “preserving complete freedom of worship for members of all religions” as such Israel “will not allow any figure to undermine (its) sovereignty.”

In a further statement directed at the Turkish President,  the Israeli top diplomat stressed that “The time of the Ottoman Empire is over, and Turkey has no business in Jerusalem.” He emphasized that “Erdogan’s declarations that Jerusalem belongs to all Muslims are groundless and unsubstantiated,” and that the Jewish State will not accept a situation in which the Turkish government led by Erdogan takes action to stir agitation and incitement in Jerusalem by means of funding and holding radical Islamic activities…” “under the guise of religious, social, cultural and educational activities.”

Neither the Turkish Foreign Ministry nor the TiKA Agency, immediately responded to TV7’s request for comment.