President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is not anti-Semitic as claimed by the United States, the Turkish Jewish community has said, describing the Turkish head of the nation as constructive and supportive towards the Jewish community.
“While tragedies in the region are deeply saddening and the global rise of anti-Semitism is unacceptable, it is unfair and reprehensible to imply that President Erdoğan is anti-Semitic. On the contrary, he has always been constructive, supportive and encouraging towards us,” the Turkish Jewish community said on Twitter on May 19.
The statement was in response to a statement issued by the U.S. State Department which condemned recent remarks made by Erdoğan concerning the Israeli attacks against the Palestinian civilians.
“The United States strongly condemns President Erdoğan’s recent anti-Semitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible. We urge President Erdoğan and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence. We call on Turkey to join the United States in working to end the conflict,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a written statement.
Erdoğan, in a statement following the weekly cabinet meeting, strongly criticized Israel for killing innocent civilians and for committing terrorism against the Palestinians. He also slammed U.S. President Joe Biden for supporting the Israeli government, saying the leader has “bloody hands.”
Senior Turkish leaders also rejected accusations by the U.S. “Accusing our president of anti-Semitism is an illogical and untrue approach. This is a lie said about our president,” Ömer Çelik commented in a series of tweets. “We call on the U.S. State Department to carefully listen to the views of our president,” Çelik stated.
For his part, İbrahim Kalın, Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy advisor and spokesman, also rejected the accusations made by the U.S.
“Instead of responding to the justified stance of our president with unfounded accusations, we call on the U.S. to review its one-sided, unfair and wrong attitude towards the Palestinian issue,” he stressed.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also criticized the U.S. State Department’s statement on Erdoğan. Rejecting the statement completely, it recalled that Erdoğan referred to the Israeli government, which has been attacking the civilians, and not Jews.
Anti-Semitism has never existed in Turkish society, which respects the co-existence of different religions and beliefs, the ministry stated.
“Brave Turkish diplomats helped hundreds of Jews to save their lives during the Holocaust. Our Jewish citizens have been living in these lands for centuries in peace and tranquility, without any discrimination.”
It also stressed that the concept of anti-Semitism should not be used as a tool to cover the ongoing Israeli offensive against the Palestinians as well as the systemic ethnic, religious and cultural cleansing. The ministry called on the U.S. to exert efforts to stop the Israeli attacks instead of making unfounded accusations against Erdoğan.
Hurriyet Daily News