Turkish ultra-nationalists hurl stones at İstanbul synagogue

A group of ultra-nationalists affiliated with the Alperen Hearths, an offshoot of the Turkish nationalist movement called the Grey Wolves (Ülkü Ocakları), gathered in front of the Neve Shalom synagogue in İstanbul on Thursday night and kicked the synagogue’s gates while throwing stones in protest of Israel’s security measures at Temple Mount.

Israeli government installed some metal detectors at the holly compound after assailants killed two Israeli police officers last weekend. The Muslim religious body that has authority over the site announced that the metal detectors are an attempt to change the status quo and called on worshipers not to enter the site. Since then, violent clashes between Israeli soldiers and Muslim protestors have been going on at the compound.

The nationalist group said in a statement read outside the Neve Shalom synagogue that Israel was a “terror state” seeking to block freedom for worship to Muslims.

“If you prevent our freedom of worship there then we will prevent your freedom of worship here,” said the statement, read by the group’s local chairman Kürşat Mican.

“We are carrying out a protest here. Zionists should pull it together. They shouldn’t prevent our brothers from the freedom to worship. We will prevent your freedom to worship here just like you are preventing ours there. We can come here tomorrow just like we are standing here today. You will not be able to get inside,” he said.

The group dispersed after the press statement. The attack on the synagogue was met with criticism, with the Turkish Chief Rabbinate Foundation urging authorities to take necessary action. “We are condemning the provocative act in front of the Neve Shalom synagogue and expecting related authorities to do what’s necessary,” read the statement posted on Twitter.

The act was also slammed by social media users, with many pointing out to the fact that the way to protest Israel is not by attacking a place of worship for the Jewish community in Turkey.  “Places of worship cannot be tools for political acts,” said main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Barış Yarkadaş.

“What is the reason behind the government’s silence?” asked CHP deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu to condemn the act.

Meanwhile, it is reported that a number of pro-Erdoğan organizations in Turkey are planning to protest new Israeli restrictions. Israeli restrictions were condemned across Turkey, particularly in İstanbul and Ankara, after Friday prayers. Protests are expected to continue on July 22.

In İstanbul, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) Chairman Bülent Yıldırım will hold a news meeting and read a statement prepared by 50 academics and religious scholars. The Anatolian Youth Association (AGD) organized a protest after Friday prayers in the city.

In Ankara, a group plans to gather at the Hacı Bayram Veli mosque to protest. Protests are planned in other provinces, including the southern province of Antalya, the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and the western province of İzmir. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) July 21, 2017

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