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US lawmakers slam Erdogan's 'anti-Semitic' statements

August 2, 2013 03:00

Group of 46 congressmen complain about Erdogan’s comment that an “interest rate lobby” was behind the protests in Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan waves at his parliament.

erdogan waves at turkish parliament 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Forty-six members of the US House of Representatives wrote a letter to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, criticizing some of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements as “anti- Semitic,” according to a report in the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News on Thursday.

In the letter, the congressional representatives asked Gul to publicly condemn such rhetoric from government officials.

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The letter was initiated by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Illinois), Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Florida) and Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) and signed by congressmen from both the Democratic and Republican parties, according to the report.

Specifically, they complained about Erdogan’s comment that an “interest rate lobby” was behind the protests in Turkey, implicitly referring to Jews. Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay had stated that the “Jewish Diaspora” was behind the protests.

Earlier this year, members of the US congress sent a letter to Erdogan asking him to retract his comments equating Zionism with fascism, calling it a “crime against humanity.” Meanwhile, Erdogan postponed his long-planned visit to Gaza because of the unrest in Egypt, Ibrahim Kalin, chief adviser to Erdogan, said on Wednesday, according to Turkey’s daily Today’s Zaman.

The Turkish leadership has been very critical of the military coup and has called for the return of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Turkey’s Islamist leadership is ideologically close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In related news, a new government-supported Palestinian foundation is to be established in Turkey aimed at raising funds for investment and projects in “Palestine,” according to a press release by the Palestinian Embassy in Ankara on Wednesday.

An announcement of the foundation’s establishment will be made during a fast-breaking dinner on Friday in Istanbul hosted by Mehmet Gormez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate and attended by Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, according to Today’s Zaman.
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