Turkish team: Israel destroying Muslim artifacts

Delegation reportedly concludes that Mughrabi excavation work must be ceased immediately.

Mughrabi 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Mughrabi 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Turkish delegation that visited Jerusalem in March to inspect the excavations at the Mughrabi Gate near the Temple Mount has concluded that the work is destroying artifacts from different historic Islamic periods, and called on Israel to coordinate their activities with the Palestinians and the international community, the Turkish newspaper A-Zamaan reported on Saturday. "The work being conducted by Israel does not abide by the appropriate [excavation standards], and the dig testifies to the fact that Israel is interested in destroying artifacts from the Islamic periods," the report quoted the envoy as saying. "It is Israel's responsibility to cease it immediately," the envoy concluded. The report also criticized Israel for not having conducted dialogue with the Waqf department in Jerusalem in the past seven years. The seven-person Turkish technical team conducted their inspections in March, one month after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the idea to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during Olmert's visit to Ankara. According to A-Zamaan, the delegation finished writing its report in July, but the Turkish government decided against publishing it out of concern it would harm Turkish-Israeli relations.