Turkey slams 'occupation' of Jerusalem, draws Israel's ire

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Muslims to stand up for the Palestinian cause, saying each day that Jerusalem remains under "occupation" is an insult to them. His words drew strong criticism from Israel.

Speaking in Istanbul on Monday, Erdogan also compared Israeli actions against Palestinians to those of South Africa under Apartheid and said the United States must drop plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

They were Erdogan's harshest words against Israel since the two countries reconciled last year and restored diplomatic ties to ambassadorial level.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry accused Erdogan of "systematically" violating human rights and said he "should not preach morality."

The ministry's spokesman Emmanuel Nashon said "Israel consistently protects total freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians."