Custodian of Jerusalem church praises Turkey’s Erdogan

Adib Javad Joudeh al-Husseini, the current custodian of the key of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, called on the international community to support the Palestinian cause.

"In Palestine, we refer to President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan as 'the Sultan' not 'the President'. Our hope is that the Palestinian cause will be solved and peace restored," al-Husseini told Anadolu Agency.

The church, also known as the "Church of the Resurrection", is located on Jerusalem's Hill of Calvary.

The key to the church has been held by two families -- the Ghodayya family and the Nuseibeh family -- for 850 years.

"I can say that the latest development in Jerusalem, especially in the West Bank, has sparked a new intifada [uprising]," al-Husseini said.

"How could he [U.S. President Donald Trump] give away something that is not his property?" he asked, referring to Trump's announcement last week -- despite widespread opposition -- to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate Washington's embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

The announcement sparked strong condemnation from around the world, including Turkey, the EU and the UN.

"As the Palestinian people, we call on the entire world to do something for our cause and raise their voices," he added.

He went on to say that the Palestinians had lived in "peace and brotherhood" under Ottoman rule.

"The Ottoman era was a period of peace and prosperity for us," he said. "We feel that Turkish people share the same blood as the Palestinians."

Regarding the status of Christians in the region, al-Husseini said: "They are our brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. We share the same emotions; they say whatever we say."

According to al-Husseini, he received the key to the church from his father when he was only eight years old. Ever since, he said, he has opened the church gate every morning and closed it every night.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move which was never recognized by the international community.

Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that the city's occupied eastern part might serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Source: Anadolu Agency