Israel has called for action to put an end to Turkey’s “subversion” in eastern Jerusalem.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz on Monday has directed the ministry to formulate a package of measures to “stop Turkey’s incitement and subversion in East Jerusalem.”, he said on Monday.
However, the East Jerusalem area is also of Greek Orthodox interest as in East Jerusalem 37% of the properties belong to the Patriarchate.
The foreign minister has chosen Twitter to announce the move, which is part of a plan to curb Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to raise money in eastern Jerusalem to gain influence there, he said.
Erdogan is a fierce critic of Israel and a staunch supporter of the Palestinians. Under his leadership, Turkey has invested heavily in the Palestinian Authority, and since 2005 the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Service (TIKA) has completed more than 600 projects in Palestine. As of July 2018, the organization had built six schools in Palestine, restored nine and provided equipment to another 20.
“Turkey is the most active and important foreign country operating in East Jerusalem,” said David Koren, a former Jerusalem mayor adviser for the Arab East Jerusalem.
Koren sees events taking place in Jerusalem as an “element in establishing Turkish regional hegemony”
Ankara has “channeled tens of millions of dollars into projects in the city” and “its public support for the Palestinian issue and for the Al Aqsa mosque and the millions of dollars it distributes in East Jerusalem are gaining sympathy and support for Turkey,” according to Turkey.
TIKA, for its part, has denied having a secret agenda in East Jerusalem and has blocked reports accusing it of trying to make the area more Islamic.
“TIKA works closely with Palestinian and Israeli officials and we continue our mission to Israel in accordance with diplomatic rules,” TIKA President Serdar Cam said in a 2017 interview.