Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday reiterated his harsh criticism against Israel Operation Cast Lead aimed at restoring calm to the South of Israel.
Speaking to the Turkish Parliament in Ankara in a session that was carried by local television, Erdogan said his words were “less harsh than the white phosphorous shells used by the Israeli army.” [The IDF categorically denies using WP ammunition — ed.]
“Whoever does not express resentment over the killing of civilians, including women and children, loses his self respect,” Erdogan was quoted by Israel Radio as saying.
Erdogan said his criticism did not stem from anti-Semitism and emphasized that in the past he had termed anti-Semitism a crime against humanity.
But he then continued to say that “media outlets supported by Jews are disseminating false reports on what happens in Gaza, finding unfounded excuses to justify targeting of schools, mosques and hospitals.” [Watch IDF video here of weapons found in a mosque yesterday — ed.]
No antisemitism, just a problem with the Jewish media. I see.
But the situation is more worrisome than just a certain crudeness of expression on the part of Erdogan. It appears that Turkey has joined Iran as a country for which antisemitism has become a matter of policy.
Here is the text of an email received by our contributor Barry Rubin from a reliable correspondent in Turkey:
The Prime Minister in Turkey has encouraged hatred against Israel in his speeches which has become obvious anti-Semitic propaganda among the general public.
There are people around the clock besieging the Israeli consulate in Istanbul shouting their hatred against Israel and Jewish people. All around Istanbul billboards are full of propaganda posters against Israel like; “Moses, even this is not written in your book” and “Israel Stop this Crime.” On the streets the people are writing such graffiti as: “Kill Jews,” “Kill Israel,” “Israel should no longer exist in the Middle East,” and “Stop Israeli Massacre.”
The week-end before, some people wrote, “We will kill you” on the door of one of the biggest synagogues in Izmir resulted in the closing down of synagogues. Near Istanbul University, a group put a huge poster on the door of a shop owned by a Jew: “Do not buy from here, since this shop is owned by a Jew.” A group put posters on his wall saying that: “Jews and Armenians are not allowed but dogs are allowed.” Some young people are even threatening others with violence if they are seen as pro-Israel in social networking websites such as Facebook and Hi5.
The document attached is the official statement by the minister of education stating that tomorrow [January 14] at 11am in all the high schools and primary schools the students will pay homage to the women and children dead during the war and furthermore, the teachers of art will organize the session of painting and writing on the subject: “Humanity Drama in Palestine” and the winners will receive awards.
The Jewish community can do nothing in response to what has been going on for the last few weeks, except giving vague statements that the Turkish Jewish Community does not want the war to be continued any more.
We have previously faced some strong reaction regarding previous operations in Gaza and the West Bank but this time is really different from former ones. I feel open anti-Semitism and hatred from all these people. Nobody understood, even some widely read columnists in Turkey are writing things that lead all these groups toward this hatred becoming much more dangerous day by day.
But I know one thing: that the world should know about the widespread and openly anti-Semitic propaganda which far exceeds anything happening in Europe.
Keep in mind that what’s happening in Europe isn’t chopped liver, either. Erdogan has been described as a ‘moderate Islamist’, which is apparently an oxymoron.