Memo to Turkey: Stop the Israel Bashing Already

Photo: United Nations

Photo: United Nations

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan really likes to criticize Israel.  It’s time to stop.

Here’s what he said at a United Nations conference in Vienna on February 27th, which has been widely reported by multiple news outlets and journalists (and UN video):

“We should be striving to better understand the beliefs of others but instead we see that people act based on prejudice and exclude others and despise them. And that is why it is necessary that we must consider — just like Zionism or anti-Semitism or fascism — Islamophobia as a crime against humanity.”

Okay, if we must, let’s go to the dictionary (Merriam-Webster).

Zionism:  an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel

Fascism:  political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

Let’s add one more definition for good measure:

demagogue: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power

Attention Prime Minister Erdogan:  remove your anti-Israel demagoguery from your Turkish politics playbook.

(Research note from Reuters:  “The Turkish prime minister’s caustic rhetoric on Israel has in the past won applause from conservative supporters at home but raised increasing concern among Western allies.”)

Oh, by the way, here’s what that UN Vienna conference was supposed to be all about:

“The 5th United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Global Forum will take place in Vienna on February 27 and 28, 2013.  Entitled “Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue”, the Vienna Forum will provide participants with a unique global platform for constructive and result-oriented dialogue to share lessons on best practices and develop joint initiatives and new partnerships.  The Forum will bring together political leaders, representatives of international and regional bodies, the private sector, civil society groups, youth, arts, and the media as well as donor agencies and foundations to explore new ways of promoting cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.”  [emphasis added]

US Secretary of State John Kerry, meeting with Turkish officials in Ankara, Turkey, had this public response to Erodogan’s Vienna remarks:

“We not only disagree with it, we found it objectionable,” Kerry told a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, saying he raised the issue “very directly” with Davutoglu and would do so with Erdogan.

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