Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, January 15, 2019
A visit by a delegation of Arab Knesset members to Istanbul and its meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked a wave of heated debates among right-wing parties.
Some accused Erdogan of interfering in Israel’s elections, while others said the Arab-Israeli lawmakers are a “fifth column,” and should be stripped of their Israeli nationality and expelled to Ramallah.
“The time has come for Israel to openly stand by the Kurdish people suffering from violent oppression and brutal persecution by his (Erdogan’s) regime against them,” said former minister Avigdor Lieberman.
“Their place is in Gaza and not in Jerusalem,” Israel’s Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev said of the Arab-Israeli lawmakers.
She described them as “Trojans who seek the evil of the State of Israel.”
Erdogan received on Saturday the delegation of Arab-Israeli lawmakers, including Ahmad Tibi, Taleb Abu Arar and Masud Gnaim along with some of the Islamic movement activists in Israel.
The delegation returned on Sunday.
Tibi said the meeting with Erdogan tackled a number of issues, including his support for the Palestinian cause and his willingness to provide university scholarships in Turkey for Arab-Israeli students.
Abu Arar, for his part, said the delegation discussed critical issues related to the Arab community. The most important of which was Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque, the rise of Jewish incursions into Al-Aqsa, the Judaization policy and the importance of Turkey’s intervention to prevent Israeli actions against Arab-Israelis.
Turkey’s role in the Palestinian reconciliation efforts was also raised in addition to lifting the siege off the Gaza Strip and the enactment of the national law by Netanyahu’s government in the Knesset.
Gnaim said the delegation also talked with Erdogan about the arrests and detention of three Arab-Israeli citizens, who arrived in Turkey for an illegal kidney transplant.
He affirmed that Erdogan ordered the termination of legal proceedings against them and released them from prison.
They stressed that the Turkish President praised the role played by Arab lawmakers to serve the interests of the Palestinians from within the Knesset.
(Source / 04.02.2019)