Categorized | Middle East, USA

ADL: Turkey’s leaders spawn anti- Semitism

Flag of Turkey

Flag of Turkey

NEW YORK (Press Release) — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Friday, Jan. 16, said it is increasingly disturbing to see Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu ratcheting up their anti-Israel rhetoric by using the tragedy of the Paris terror attacks to further virulently anti-Israel views, which contributes to a growing anti-Jewish atmosphere within Turkey.

ADL also pointed to anti-Semitic comments made by the Mayor of Ankara Melih Gokcek claiming the Israeli Mossad was behind the Paris attacks as the latest example of this disturbing trend, and said the mayor was “guilty of perpetuating the age-old canard of Jews causing conflict and anti-Semitism.”

“It is increasingly disturbing that President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu are using the terrible tragedies in Paris to further their virulently anti-Israel agenda,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Their comments are an insult to the memories of those killed at the Charlie Hebdo office and the kosher supermarket, and contribute to a worsening environment that promotes hostility towards Turkey’s Jewish community.”

On January 15, Prime Minister Davutoglu equated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the Paris killers, saying they were all guilty of “crimes against humanity.” On January 12, President Erdogan criticized Netanyahu for attending the Paris solidarity rally saying, “I, of course, find it hard to understand how he dared to go there. First, give an account of the children, the women that you have massacred,” a reference to Israel’s military operation this summer to defend against terrorism from Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, Mayor Gokcek reportedly stated that Israel had launched the Paris attacks in response to France’s vote in support of a Palestinian state in their Parliament and at the U.N. “Israel certainly doesn’t want this sentiment to expand in Europe. That’s why it is certain that Mossad is behind these kinds of incidents. Mossad enflames Islamophobia by causing such incidents,” Gokcek said.

“This hostility is evident in the anti-Semitism espoused by Mayor Gokcek, who is guilty of perpetuating the age-old canard about Jews causing conflict and anti-Semitism in order to gain international sympathy and promote Israeli and Jewish interests,” Foxman said. “It is clear that the underlying intent of the Turkish leaders’ comments is to deflect blame away from the Islamic extremist ideology which motivated and enabled the terrible Paris attacks.”

Foxman added, “We continue to share concerns expressed by the Turkish Jewish community that these types of anti-Israel comments and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories will have a negative impact on the community’s safety and well-being.”

In September 2014, ADL issued an open letter to President Erdogan expressing concern over his government’s criticism of Israel. The League also expressed alarm in July 2014 at the increasingly hostile environment toward Israel in Turkey and urged its leadership to publicly assert full support and protection of the Jewish community.

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