Ankara: – Turkish President Recep Erdogan made an announcement provoking Israel in the Turkish parliament that ‘Jerusalem was a part of Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years. Turkish and Palestinian people were living in harmony in Jerusalem during this period. But the Turks had to withdraw from Jerusalem with tearful eyes during the first world war. Even today, you find signs of Ottoman empire in Jerusalem. Therefore, Jerusalem is a Turkish city.’ At the same time, Erdogan announced, ‘It is the Turkish duty to raise the issue of the rights of Palestinians, with whom the Turks lived in harmony for hundreds of years, on every international platform and Turkey will continue to fight on the Jerusalem issue till the end.’
The Ottoman Empire had control over Jerusalem and the surrounding region. Referring to this, the Turkish President, even in the past, had tried to convince regarding the link between Turkey and Jerusalem. Erdogan had strongly objected to the announcement made by the United States in 2017, recognising Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. At the same time, Erdogan had said that Israel had illegally occupied Jerusalem. Thereafter, Erdogan pursued the Palestine issue aggressively. In the last week, during his address at the Turkish parliament, Erdogan mentioned the link of the Ottoman empire and Jerusalem while speaking about Palestinians and their rights.
President Erdogan announced, ‘Jerusalem is not just another pending issue for us. Our ancestors have respected the city for hundreds of years. Therefore, Jerusalem is a city belonging to Turkey. This is why Turkey will raise the issue of the oppressed Palestinians, whom we lived in harmony for hundreds of years on every international platform. The fight for Palestine and Jerusalem has suffered major losses due to the lack of global sensitivity, but Turkey will continue with this fight.’ Erdogan said that the old Jerusalem city was built by ‘Suleiman the Magnificent’, to underline the links between Turkey and Jerusalem. Erdogan claimed that its signs are still found in Jerusalem on the walls, marketplace and old structures. The Israeli foreign ministry refused to comment on the statements of the Turkish President.
Since the last few months, President Erdogan is citing the Ottoman empire to rekindle pride in the Turkish population. Erdogan had delivered messages to the Turkish people that he will work to regain the glory of the Ottoman empire once again for Turkey. Erdogan has repeatedly mentioned that the Ottoman Empire had control over Bulgaria, Greece and Georgia in Europe and North African countries and the western part of the Gulf. Erdogan is being criticised for trying to project himself as a legendary leader, in the current times, by mentioning the Ottoman empire, time and again. At the same time, the leaders and analysts who have left Turkey are expressing concerns that the changes effected by Erdogan in the Turkish policies are taking Turkey towards extremism.