By Eshat Firat
RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – The Turkish Minister of Youth and Sports on Wednesday met with the father of the Palestinian girl Ahed al-Tamimi who was detained by Israeli security forces last year.
Osman Askin Bak met with al-Tamimi’s father Basim during his visit to Palestine.
The Turkish minister told Anadolu Agency that he delivered the Turkish people and the government’s solidarity to father Basim.
Bak called on Israeli authorities to release al-Tamimi: “Ahed has become a symbol with her resistance against the Israeli occupation and has won the love of Turkish youth. Ahed’s place is not prisons and courts but school desks.”
Ahed's father said that there was international support, especially from Turkey, for Ahed.
Al-Tamimi, who is well known for her bold activism for a free Palestine, was arrested on Dec. 19, 2017 after a video spread on social media showing her purportedly hitting two Israeli security officers who had stormed her home in the occupied West Bank.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Turkish minister also visited the office of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in Ramallah.
Bak also visited Al-Aqsa Mosque, considered the world’s third holiest site for Muslims.
“It is very important for us to protect, strengthen and support the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first kiblah of Muslims,” he said.
“Our support for Palestine is very clear as the Republic of Turkey,” Bak added.
The Turkish minister arrived in the city earlier Tuesday to take part in a youth conference on the city of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has dominated world attention in recent weeks since the U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized the holy city as the capital of Israel on Dec. 6, triggering outcry in the Arab and Muslim world.
Last year in Istanbul, Jerusalem was declared as the capital of Islamic Youth in 2018.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- occupied by Israel since 1967 -- might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.