REPORT: Three tourists with dual Belgian-Turkish citizenships were arrested ascending the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after violent response when they were refused entry as long as they wore T-shirts with Turkish flag on them.
Three Turkish tourists were arrested on the slopes of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Turkish media outlets extensively reported Saturday. The tourists were arrested Friday for assaulting police officers, it was reported, and were still detained and interrogated.
Turkish paper Daily Sabah reported eye witness accounts purporting the Israel Police prevented a delegation of Turkish tourists—some of them children—to enter the Temple Mount complex.
Some of the tourists wore shirts emblazoned with the Turkish flag, the witnesses said, while others wore traditional Ottoman headdresses.
The Turkish Anadolu state-run news agency reported the Turkish group arrived to Israel from Belgium and held dual Belgian-Turkish citizenships.
Anadolu further said eye witnesses maintained the cops told the Turks they would have to remove their shirts if they wanted to enter the complex, and when the tourists refused a scuffle broke out.
A diplomat from the Turkish consulate in Jerusalem arrived to the police station where the group was detained, the state-run agency said.
The Turkish party’s arrest may further sour relations between Israel and Turkey. Despite a reconciliation agreement between the two countries in the wake of events surrounding the Marmara flotilla to Gaza, and despite the decision to completely normalize relations, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has continually and scathingly attacked Israel over the past year.
Since President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Erdoğan has tried to position himself as the leader of the bloc opposing the declaration, and has voiced harsh anti-Israeli sentiments over the past two weeks.
The Turkish president said Israel was a “child-killing terror state” and promised not to “abandon” Jerusalem to Jewish hands. On the American threat to halt assistance funds to countries voting against the decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital in the United Nations, Erdoğan replied, “Trump, you can’t buy us with your dollars.”
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