Erdoğan discusses Russia war, Jerusalem tensions with Guterres

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed the tensions in Jerusalem and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war in a phone conversation with the United Nations chief on Sunday.

“We had a phone talk with the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres. In our conversation, we discussed regional developments, especially the incident in Jerusalem and the Ukraine-Russia war,” Erdoğan said on Twitter.

Erdoğan also said he stressed the importance of the Istanbul process for the Russia-Ukraine peace talks and efforts to settle disagreements between the parties.

At least 1,982 civilians have been killed and 2,651 injured in Ukraine since the war started on Feb. 24, according to U.N. estimates, with the true figure believed to be much higher.

More than 4.8 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with over 7 million more internally displaced, said the U.N. refugee agency.

The leaders also addressed the recent tensions in Jerusalem, as Erdoğan told Guterres that Ankara strongly condemns Israel’s interventions against worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and finds it “unacceptable.”

They also evaluated the joint steps that can be taken to achieve peace in the region.

Tension has mounted across the Palestinian territories since Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard on Friday amid clashes with worshippers, injuring hundreds.

On Sunday, more than 700 Israeli settlers forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex under heavy police protection to celebrate the weeklong Jewish Passover holiday, which started on Friday.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.

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