(photo credit: Associated Press)
Jerusalem “welcomes” the condemnation by international leaders of Turkish Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent characterization of Zionism as a crime
against humanity, government officials said Sunday.
The comments came as
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle added his voice of condemnation to
those of US Secretary of State John Kerry, the White House and UN Secretary-
General Ban Ki-moon.
Westerwelle criticized the remarks as “hurtful and
unacceptable.” He said “the right of Israel to its own state within secure
borders is a matter of course.”
UN Watch, which first flagged attention
to Erdogan’s speech at a UN framework for West-Islam Dialogue in Vienna on
Wednesday, called on the many other EU representatives who were at the event and
stayed quiet to condemn the comments.
“It is necessary that we must
consider – just like Zionism, or anti- Semitism, or fascism – Islamophopia as a
crime against humanity,” Erdogan said at the meeting, according to a
simultaneous translation of his remarks.
Foreign Ministry officials
pointed out that some Turkish media expunged the word “Zionism” from reports of
Erdogan’s speech, and that “Zionism” also did not appear on the version of the
speech that appeared on the website of Erdogan’s AKP party.
the head of the Geneva-based UN Watch, called on other EU leaders – such as EU
High Representative Catherine Ashton, EU Commission President Jose Manuel
Barroso, EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy, and European Parliament
President Martin Schulz – “to issue strong and unequivocal statements condemning
the repugnant speech of the Turkish prime minister. If the UN, Germany and the
US have done so, the EU should do the right thing as well,” he said.
Turkish daily Hurriyet
reported Sunday that US “uneasiness” with the comments
“dominated” Kerry’s talks over the weekend in Ankara.
Kerry, in a press
conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday, said that
the US not only disagreed with Erdogan’s comments, but also found them
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned Erdogan’s
comments on Thursday, calling them “sinister and mendacious.”