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Jerusalem holy site closure 'crime against humanity': Turkey

AFP  |  Istanbul 

Turkey has blasted Israel's two- day closure of a holy site, following a deadly attack, as a "crime against humanity."

The Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, includes the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

It is venerated by Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam, and by Jews as the most sacred site in Judaism.

closed the ultra-sensitive compound on Friday and Saturday after the attack.

"This decision is a crime against humanity, a crime committed against the freedom of religion. From the point of view of human rights, it's utterly unacceptable," Turkish spokesman Numan Kurtulmus, who is also deputy prime minister, said.

"It really is an unacceptable decision, and wounding to the highest degree," added Kurtulmus, who was speaking at a conference in Ankara after a cabinet meeting.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a fervent supporter of Palestinians, normalised relations with in June last year after bilateral ties deteriorated over a 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound ship that killed 10 Turkish activists.

However, ties remain volatile. In May, Erdogan spoke out angrily over legal plans in to prevent the use of loudspeakers on minarets to summon Muslims for nightly prayers.

Erdogan accused of practices similar to South African apartheid -- remarks that caused to angrily describe him as a "serial human rights violator."

Last week in contrast, said Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law, would visit by year's end to conclude an agreement for the building of a gas pipeline linking the two countries.

Friday's attack saw three Arab Israelis open fire on Israeli police, killing two, before fleeing into the compound, where they were shot dead by security forces.

It was among the most serious incidents in in recent years and heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

Israeli authorities said the gunmen had come from the flashpoint holy site to carry out the attack.

They took the highly unusual decision of closing the compound for two days and then installed metal detectors at its entrances, triggering anger from Muslim worshippers.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, July 18 2017. 03:13 IST