Israel’s “barbaric” attack on al-Aksa is an attack on Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday in remarks immediately slammed by Israel as “malicious and extremist” rhetoric not befitting the leader of a NATO country.

According to a report Thursday in Today’s Zaman, Erdogan, during a speech in Algeria to Turkish and Algerian businessmen, said “Israel’s barbaric attack on al-Aksa Mosque is tantamount to an attack on Turkey and Algeria because al-Aksa Mosque belongs to all of us.” Erdogan is well known for his strident and extreme anti-Israel rhetoric.

One government official said that Israel has been facing “a malicious campaign of slander concerning a so-called threat to al-Aksa. This campaign has been led by Islamist extremists who claim there is a Jewish threat to al-Aksa. This is baseless and ridiculous, it is slander that has no relationship to the truth whatsoever.”

The official said that Jerusalem was disturbed when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the PA “echoed these baseless charges,” and when Abbas said that Jews were “contaminating” the Temple Mount.

“We are equally troubled when we hear this sort of thing from a leader of a NATO country,” the official added. “Ultimately this sort of extremist and malicious rhetoric is what one expects to hear from Tehran and Damascus, not from a NATO capital.”