Skip to main content

Turkey's top cleric vows rebuilding Gaza mosques

Gormez accuses Israel of violating 'religious and human rights' of Palestinians as Haniyeh hails 'sacred' bond between Palestine and Turkey
President of the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey, Dr. Mehmet Gormez (R2), his wife Hatice Gormez (R) greet Palestinian children in Gaza's eastern Shejaiya district on 18 May, 2015 (AA)

Turkey's head of religious affairs has promised on Sunday that his country would help rebuilt mosques in the Gaza Strip which were destroyed during Israel's military offensive last summer, Palestinian papers reported on Sunday.

The president of the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs, Mehmet Gormez, is on a two-day visit to the Gaza Strip, accompanying a delegation of 22 officials.

Gormez requested that the new mosques would include more education facilities, in addition to them being houses of worship, reported Felesteen Online.

Meanwhile in Israel, the news was reported by Reshet Bet radio on Monday with the claim that mosques – numbered 19 - were used by Hamas to "launch missiles" against Israel, in a bid by Tel Aviv to justify the shelling of religious sites.

In Gaza, Gormez accused Israel of violating Palestinian human rights of Palestinians and using internationally banned weapons against civilians in Gaza.

"Israel used internationally banned weapons and violated religious and human rights [of Palestinians]. Israel must be prosecuted," Gormez said on Sunday.

During the visit, Gormez met with Ismail Haniyeh, deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau in Gaza, who praised Turkey's assistance to Palestinians.

"Gaza in particular and Palestine in general praises Turkey's support in all domains," Haniyeh said, hailing the "reliable and sacred" bond between the two sides.

"Turkey has always offered political and economic support to the Palestinians," the senior Hamas leader said.

"We will never forget the Turkish blood that was spilt on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla in a bid to break the siege on the Gaza Strip," Haniyeh added.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.