U.S., U.N., Israel condemn Turkish PM in Zionism row
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The United Nations, United States and its key ally Israel on Friday slammed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for branding Zionism as a “crime against humanity”.
In Vienna Wednesday, Turkish PM Erdogan said, “As is the case for Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it is inevitable that Islamophobia be considered a crime against humanity.”
Arch-rival Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the comments were “a dark and mendacious statement the likes of which we thought had passed from the world”.
The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s office also vehemently condemned Erdogan’s statements made at the Fifth Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations.
“The Secretary-General believes is it is unfortunate that such hurtful and divisive comments were uttered at a meeting being held under the theme of responsible leadership,” his office said. “The Secretary-General heard the Prime Minister’s speech through an interpreter. If the comment about Zionism was interpreted correctly, then it was not only wrong but contradicts the very principles on which the Alliance of Civilizations is based,” it added.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said that described such branding of Zionism as offensive and wrong. “We encourage people of all faiths, cultures, and ideas to denounce hateful actions and to overcome the differences of our times,” said Vietor.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is currently in Turkish capital Ankara, vehemently denounced the premier’s comments. Speaking at a joint press conference with Turkish leaders following his talks on the Syria crisis, Kerry said, “Obviously we disagree with that, we find it objectionable.”
He added that he would directly raise this issue with PM Erdogan and discuss what made him link Zionism to fascism and anti-Semitism.
He further expressed U.S.’ hopes to see that their vital ally in Western Asia work together.
During his visit in Ankara, Kerry’s discussions focussed on renewed tensions between U.S.’ two main allies – Turkey and Israel.
Kerry said that both Turkey and Israel need to take efforts to rekindle their “historic cooperation”. However, he admitted that Friday’s remarks further complicated the situation.
Meanwhile, a senior State Department official said that he met with Erdogan on Friday in Vienna where he had a frank discussion about the premier’s speech.
“The Secretary made U.S. concerns very clear. The U.S. and Turkish side agreed to stay in very close touch about the whole range of related issues, including their shared commitment to Middle East peace,” the official said.