Erdogan accuses EU of launching anti-Islam ‘crusade’

Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AFP)
Updated 16 March 2017

Erdogan accuses EU of launching anti-Islam ‘crusade’

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s president Thursday accused the EU’s top court of starting a “crusade” against Islam after a ruling allowing European companies to ban employees from wearing religious or political symbols including the Islamic headscarf.
“The European Union’s court, The European Court of Justice, my esteemed brothers, have started a crusade struggle against the (Muslim) crescent,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech,
“Where is freedom of religion?” he said, referring to the court ruling this week.
“Shame on your European Union acquis!” Erdogan said, referring to EU law. “Shame on your values. Shame on your law and justice!”
“Europe is swiftly rolling back to the days before World War II,” he added.
The European Court of Justice said it does not constitute “direct discrimination” if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign.”
Turkey last month said it was lifting a historic ban on female officers wearing the Islamic headscarf in the country’s officially secular armed forces, the last institution where the wearing of the garment was forbidden.
Meanwhile, Erdogan told the Dutch prime minister he had lost Turkey as a friend, despite Mark Rutte’s victory over the far-right in parliamentary elections.
“Hey Rutte! You may have emerged as the number one party in the election but you must know that you have lost Turkey as your friend,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, amid a diplomatic crisis with The Hague due to the blocking of campaign rallies by Turkish ministers.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier said there was “no difference” between the ruling Dutch liberals and the “fascist” anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders.
Cavusoglu also predicted that “religious wars” will start in Europe due to the rise of the far right.
Turkey and Europe have been locked in a diplomatic spat after The Netherlands and Germany blocked Turkish ministers from holding campaign rallies to secure a “yes” vote in next month’s referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers.
Erdogan ridiculed Rutte who Turkish officials said had told Prime Minister Binali Yildirim that the two sides could iron out their differences over dinner. “He says ‘we can have dinner with the prime minister after the election.’ There is no such prime minister. You have lost Turkey,” said Erdogan.
The French and German leaders condemned Erdogan’s “unacceptable” remarks accusing Germany and the Netherlands of acting like “Nazis.”
Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel “consider comparisons with Nazism and aggressive statements against Germany and other member states unacceptable,” they said in a joint statement after speaking by telephone, the French president’s office said.
While Erdogan has repeatedly accused the countries of acting like “Nazis,” the EU has warned Ankara to show moderation in its language.


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 18 August 2019

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”