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Situation in Quds worse than 1967 war: Turkish deputy PM

Kurtulmus says Al-Quds is in a 'dire situation' after the latest Israeli assault on the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Wednesday that conditions in Jerusalem, or Al-Quds for Muslims, are worse than during the 1967 war.

"The current situation in Al-Quds is extraordinarily sensitive. It would not be an exaggeration to say the conditions are worse than those in 1967," said Kurtulmus in a visit late Wednesday to the Anadolu Agency's office in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

The recent Israeli aggression against Al-Quds and the Al-Aqsa Mosque has brought the region to a critical threshold, Kurtulmus said.

His remarks came a week after the Al-Aqsa complex in Quds, which represents the world's third holiest site for Muslims, was stormed by a group of Jewish settlers and Israeli security forces.

Kurtulmus stated that Israel has maintained its invasion of Palestinian territories since 1967 by relying on the veto power of the United States at the United Nations Security Council.

"Israel is using Jerusalem as its de facto capital, and working step by step to completely drive out Muslims inhabitants from east Al-Quds. The efforts to Judaize Al-Quds with illegal Jewish settlements, dispossessing Arabs and Muslims of their lands, and putting huge pressure on them have all been happening gradually," he said.

On Wednesday, an Israeli planning committee approved plans to build 200 new settlement units in east Al-Quds.

The Turkish deputy prime minister also said that "U.S. patronage of Israel" is preventing the imposition of any sanctions against the Jewish state, even if the UN were to impose such sanctions.

- Israel seeks a 'golden shot'

Kurtulmus maintained that Israel is almost about to "seal the deal with a golden shot" by taking advantage of both the balances at international mechanisms, specifically the UN Security Council, and unrest in the Muslim world.

"The things (they did) in Al Quds, Al-Aqsa Mosque and Haram al-Sharif are beyond imagination. Nobody expected them to grow that aggressive," he said.

On Oct. 5, Israeli soldiers stepped into Al-Aqsa with their dirty boots on, and then blocked the entry of Muslims for Friday and other prayers.

Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

The Turkish deputy prime minister called it a "dire situation," saying Israel is digging tunnels under the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

"If they could, they would demolish Al-Aqsa one day and say 'It collapsed. Somehow, it used to stand on the place where the Temple of Solomon once stood. Now we are rebuilding the temple'," Kurtulmus warned.

Kurtulmus pointed out that Israel is taking advantage of the fact that international law courts have not ruled on its conduct, and so does not have to account for the crimes it has committed.

During Wednesday's extraordinary meeting of Quds Contact Group of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Rabat, the Turkish deputy prime minister suggested establishing an Istanbul-based International Quds Foundation to "protect Al Quds's Muslim identity, history and cultural heritage together with all related organization members".

The meeting was called for by Palestine after Israel's recent violation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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