Crowds gathered at Yenikapi Square on Sunday to protest security measures taken by Israel which prevent Palestinians from accessing Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.

Thousands came together at Istanbul's Yenikapi Square on Sunday to show solidarity with Palestinians following the recent Israeli restrictions on Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Thousands came together at Istanbul's Yenikapi Square on Sunday to show solidarity with Palestinians following the recent Israeli restrictions on Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Thousands of people on Sunday rallied at "The Big Jerusalem Meeting" organised by a number of Turkish NGOs in Istanbul's Yenikapi Square against security measures imposed by Israel at the Al Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.

The dispute over security at the mosque compound was triggered when Israel installed metal detectors at entry points after two police guards were shot dead this month. The parade that drew some five thousand people came after Israel removed some of these measures, but continued to enforce limitations on access to the mosque.

"You should know that not only Gaza, but Tel Aviv also has their eyes on this parade ground. Netanyahu does as well, and he is scared," Saadet Party Chairman Temel Karamollaoglu said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Jerusalem is our heart," stressed a 32-year-old Turkish woman, who was at the rally with her three-year-old baby girl carrying a Palestinian flag.

Esra, who did not want to reveal her last name, said she brought her baby to the rally as she believed "the Palestinian issue should be learned from early childhood".

85-year-old Nurhayat Kurt, who joined the rally in her wheelchair said Israel would have to give up in the end.

"I am here with my children and grandchildren. The more Muslims are united against Israel, the better our voice will be heard," she said.

"Everybody should do what they can for our Palestinian brothers and sisters".

Sunday's gathering is the latest in a series of demonstrations that have been held across Turkey over the last week following the recent restrictions Israel placed on Palestinians entering the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Tensions in Al Aqsa

The dispute has touched off the bloodiest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in years.

Muslims refused to enter the mosque and prayed on the streets surrounding the mosque in protest against the installation of metal detectors.

Israel, after facing international condemnation, removed the detectors on Friday.

The main prayer session at the Al Aqsa mosque ended relatively calmly on Friday after Israel removed the tougher security measures but it barred entrance to men under age 50.

Turkey has opposed the security measures installed at the entry points of the mosque compound, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning Israel that it would suffer most from the dispute.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the holy compound, in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the area in a move that has never been recognised internationally.

Al Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine, sits in the heart of the Old City.

It is also the holiest place in Judaism – the venue of two ancient temples, the last destroyed by the Romans.

Source: AA