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Erdogan says Zionism crime against humanity
By JPOST.COM STAFF
02/28/2013
PM speaking at Vienna forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, a UN forum for West-Islam dialogue; Kerry set to visit Turkey Friday.
 
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called Zionism a "crime against humanity" likening it with anti-Semitism, fascism, and Islamophobia  while speaking at a UN forum on Wednesday.  Erdogan was speaking Wednesday before a Vienna forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, a UN framework for West-Islam dialogue.

UN Watch urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon who was present on the stage yet stayed silent, according to UN Watch, to speak out and condemn the speech. It also called on Erdogan to apologize.

"We remind secretary-general Ban Ki-moon that his predecessor Kofi Annan recognized that the UN's 1975 Zionism-is-racism resolution was an expression of anti-Semitism, and he welcomed its repeal," UN Watch stated.

In its condemnation of Erdogan's remarks which it called "Ahmedinejad-style pronouncements," UN Watch stated that the remarks "will only strengthen the belief that his government is hewing to a confrontational stance, and fundamentally unwilling to end its four-year-old feud with Israel."

Israel sent messages to Ankara over the last two weeks that it is interested in creating a more “positive dynamic” in its badly strained relationship with Turkey so the two countries can work together to further common interests, government officials said on Monday.

The messages were sent prior to John Kerry’s maiden trip abroad as US secretary of state, a trip that will take him to nine countries including Turkey. Kerry is scheduled to arrive in Turkey on Friday.

It is widely expected that Kerry will raise the issue of ties with Israel during his talks with Turkish leaders in Ankara.

The US has long been pressing both Ankara and Jerusalem to take steps to improve relations that went into a nosedive following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report. 
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