JERUSALEM, Israel – Turkey says it’s set to provide 11 tons of humanitarian aid to Qatar, Hurriyet Daily News reported this week.
“A ship carrying 4,000 tons of aid is going to Qatar right now, and then another ship carrying 11 tons of aid will also be sent,” Hurriyet quoted Turkish Economy Minister Nehat Zeybekci. “They particularly wanted from us milk products and eggs, and we’ve sent 90 planes and met all their needs.”
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar for its support of terrorism. Yemen and Mauritania followed suit.
“[Qatar] embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS and al Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly,” Saudi’s state news agency SPA wrote at the time.
Saudi Arabia also closed its land border with Qatar and, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, gave Qatari tourists and visitors two weeks to leave their respective countries.
But Qatar isn’t the only recipient of lavish aid from Turkey.
A new report accuses Turkey of doling out tens of millions of dollars to foment tensions in Jerusalem’s eastern sector and on the Temple Mount in the Old City.
Details of the report reveal that Turkish nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) have invested more than $60 million aimed at “defending and strengthening the Muslim heritage and character of Jerusalem.”
The Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), partially funded by the Turkish government, has served as a conduit to distribute the funds. TIKA is led by Dr. Serdar Cam, said to be a close friend of Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Since 2004 – a year after Erdogan was elected prime minister – TIKA has been underwriting all sorts of different projects in Jerusalem’s eastern sector to strengthen the city’s alleged “Muslim heritage.”
Meanwhile, Erdogan continues to seek closer ties with the Islamic Movement in Israel, especially the northern branch, led by Hamas supporter Sheikh Raed Salah and Holocaust denier Ekrima Said Sabr.
Some of TIKA’s funds may also have been used to transport protesters to the Temple Mount.
Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai, who has authored several books on Jerusalem and the Temple Mount says Turkey’s presence in the Old City is easy to spot.
“Turkish national flags are on display everywhere, while Turkish food and culture are becoming increasingly popular,” Shragai wrote in the Israeli daily Israel Hayom. “The faded crescent symbol atop the Dome of the Rock was replaced several years ago with a golden crescent, paid for in part by the Turkish government.”
Erdogan’s efforts to Islamize Jerusalem come as no surprise. Since his election in 2003, he has worked steadily toward the same goal in Turkey and in the process undermined the strong military and diplomatic ties his country had worked hard to establish with Israel.
Turkey, a member of NATO, is not in step with the West or even moderates in the Middle East. Erdogan appears to envision a revised Ottoman Empire, perhaps with himself as the leader of a new Islamic caliphate.