image Jordan's King Abdullah (R) and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan review Bedouin honour guards at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan, August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed - RTS1CNDM

Turkish President Erdogan discusses regional challenges with Jordan’s King Abdullah

Jordan’s King Abdullah welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at his Palace in his country’s capital, Amman, where the two leaders discussed bilateral ties and the situation in the Middle East, including the Syrian crisis, as well as recent tensions over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, the Arabic words for ‘the Noble Sanctuary’. The ancient Mount, which includes the al-Aqsa Mosque, revered by Muslims as their third holiest site; is the same location where both biblical Temples once stood that is revered as the holiest site in Judaism. Jordan, which is the custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites since the 1920s, was Israel’s most vocal critic during the last crisis surrounding the Temple Mount – when Israel installed metal detectors at the entry points to the compound after two police officers were fatally shot by two Arab-Israelis on the 14th of July, setting off the bloodiest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in months. In an effort to alleviate tensions, Israel removed the metal detectors on the 25th of July in favor of security cameras; a move Muslims leaders around the world declared as unacceptable, demanding the Jewish state remove all security arrangements at the ancient compound. Speaking to reporters before departing on his Jordan trip, Turkish President Erdogan urged Muslim states to present a united front to protect the holy site in Jerusalem, which he claimed was a matter of Islamic sovereignty.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis also arrived in Amman for meetings with Jordanian officials, after which the American top defense official is expected to travel to Turkey tomorrow for talks with the Turkish leadership on regional developments.