J'lem welcomes condemnation of Erdogan's remarks

Officials praise the responses of international leaders to the Turkish prime minister's characterization of Zionism as a "crime."

Erdogan 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Erdogan 311
(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.
Hillel Neuer, 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.
The 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 “objectionable.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned Erdogan’s comments on Thursday, calling them “sinister and mendacious.”