A high-ranking Turkish delegation visits Al-Aqsa Mosque

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On Thursday, a high-ranking Turkish delegation visited the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem and performed prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque before touring the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The delegation included Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for the Turkish presidency, and Sedat Unal, deputy foreign minister.

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The Turkish Consul General in Jerusalem, Ahmed Reza Demir, accompanied the officials during this visit, which is the first for a high-ranking Turkish delegation in years.

The Turkish delegation also passed the streets of the Old City of East Jerusalem on its way to Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The delegation began its visit to Al-Aqsa by holding a meeting with the Director General of the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem, Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, and the director of the mosque, Sheikh Omar Al-Kiswani, and a number of department officials.

The delegation performed the Asr prayer in the Dome of the Rock in Al-Aqsa Mosque before touring the dome, followed by a visit to the roofed Qibli Mosque.

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A number of Palestinians, including a group of Palestinian children, took memorial photos with the delegation.

Sheikh Al-Khatib said: “We were honored today by the visit of our brothers from Turkey who visited the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and we are proud and proud of this visit. Any Muslim who comes to Al-Aqsa is welcome.”

He added: “Our brothers in Turkey look at Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem with a special view, and they are working with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan to unite Muslims around Jerusalem.

Through the Organization of the Islamic Conference in the capacity of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the head of this organization.”

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The Department of Islamic Endowments in Jerusalem is affiliated to the Jordanian Ministry of Endowments.

Al-Khatib continued, “We explained to them the projects that are being implemented in Al-Aqsa Mosque at the expense of His Majesty the King and the role of the Endowment Department in the care of the holy sites.”

He added, “The Turkish officials thanked the Awqaf Department and His Majesty the King, especially when we explained to them the great challenges we face in preserving the holy sites in Jerusalem.”

Al-Khatib added, “We also explained to them our difficult and complex situations and the provocations we are exposed to from the Israeli extreme right.”

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And he added, “Turkish officials have sufficient knowledge of these matters and promised to stand by Jordan to stop these Israeli provocations.”

Al-Khatib added, “We asked them to continue the arrival of our Muslim brothers from Turkey to visit Jerusalem, and they promised us that this would be done soon in batches, as it was in the past.”

The Turkish delegation had listened to a detailed explanation by Dr. Youssef Al-Natshe, Director General of the Jerusalem Studies Center, about Al-Aqsa Mosque and the landmarks of the Old City and its markets.

The delegation visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where it listened to a detailed explanation of the church from the curator of the Church’s Miftah, Adib Joudeh.

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Judeh presented the Turkish delegation with a copy of the Omari Covenant (a book written by Omar Ibn Al-Khattab for the people of Jerusalem).

The delegation also visited the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque, which is adjacent to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Dr. Al-Natsheh said: “The Turkish delegation showed an interest in the heritage of the Old City and the scenery formed by the Dome of the Rock. The site was explained in terms of its spiritual and architectural richness, and what distinguishes it from other buildings.”

He added: “It was also indicated that this Islamic edifice had been restricted by God Almighty to be taken care of by sultans, caliphs and princes, starting with Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan.

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It also extended to Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi and the Ottoman sultans, Suleiman the Magnificent, and Mahmud II, and even to the Hashemite patronage.

Al-Natsheh continued, “The Turkish delegation was aware of all the Israeli measures that are taking place in the region, as they are illegal.

And it will not change the firm Turkish position towards Al-Aqsa Mosque, as it is a holy place for Muslims.”

The delegation will end Thursday evening a two-day visit to Palestine and Israel.