NEW YORK, NY – American Jewish Committee denounced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his ongoing diatribes against Israel and hateful, personal attacks targeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Erdogan condemned Netanyahu’s participation in Sunday’s rally in Paris against Islamist terrorism, accusing the Israeli leader of “state terrorism.” Today, Erdogan compared the Israeli prime minster to the terrorists who carried out the murderous attacks in Paris last week. “Just like the terrorists who committed the massacre in Paris, Netanyahu committed crimes against humanity as he was the PM responsible for the massacre in Gaza’s beach,” Erdogan said.
“President Erdogan’s words not only are slanderous but downright dangerous, increasing hatred against Israel in Turkey and the Muslim world,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Where are the voices around the world, other than laudably in Washington, condemning the latest in a litany of outrageous, hostile rhetoric from Erdogan and other Turkish leaders?”
The U.S. State Department yesterday, for the second time this week, expressed “strong disagreement” with Erdogan’s comments on Netanyahu.
Erdogan is not the only Turkish leader besmirching Israel. Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek blamed Mossad for the atrocities in Paris, and last summer, in a tweet, called for closing the Israeli consulate. “We don’t want a representative of murderers in Turkey,” he tweeted. At the time, Erdogan declared that Israel had “surpassed Hitler in barbarism.”
Turkey under Erdogan, as prime minister from 2003-2014 and now as president, has expanded and deepened ties to Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization controlling Gaza.
In 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President Obama roundly criticized Erdogan for labeling Zionism, the historic Jewish movement for national self-determination, a “crime against humanity.”
“Erdogan has tragically led Turkey in a direction that widens existing gaps with the U.S. and other NATO allies, including members of the EU, a bloc with which Turkey has been negotiating possible accession,” said Harris. “Erdogan’ s aggressive, combative posture is not only reckless incitement, but also sullies the standing of his country in the eyes of many around the world.”