US condemns Erdogan's anti-Semitic remarks

State Department says Turkish president's remarks could 'incite further violence'

'Anti-Semitic language has no place anywhere.  The United States is deeply committed to combatting anti-Semitism in all of its forms,' the US statement read. PPO/Handout via REUTERS
'Anti-Semitic language has no place anywhere.  The United States is deeply committed to combatting anti-Semitism in all of its forms,' the US statement read. PPO/Handout via REUTERS

The US government on Tuesday condemned statements made by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling them anti-Semitic and reprehensible.

In an unusual statement by the State Department, spokesman Ned Price rebuked Mr Erdogan for his remarks.

“The United States strongly condemns President Erdogan’s recent anti-Semitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible,” the statement said.

On Monday, Mr Erdogan accused US President Joe Biden of "writing history with bloody hands” because of arms sales to Israel.

In the same speech, Mr Erdogan criticised Austria for flying the flag of Israel last week and made reference to the Holocaust.

"The Austrian state seems to be trying to make Muslims pay the price for [its role] in the Holocaust,” he said.

The State Department called the remarks incendiary.

“We urge President Erdogan and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence.”

It also called on Ankara to help end the conflict.

Turkey is an open supporter of the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Mr Erdogan hosted its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, last August.

The Biden administration has not yet approached Turkey to help end the fighting in Gaza, despite speaking to regional players such as Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, the UAE and Bahrain.

Relations have deteriorated between Turkey and Washington since Mr Biden came into office. Unlike his predecessor, Donald Trump, who enjoyed a close personal relationship with the Turkish leader, Mr Biden waited more than three months before speaking to Mr Erdogan.

US recognition of the Armenian genocide, Turkish acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defence system and Ankara’s record on human rights deepened the rift between the two.

Updated: May 19, 2021 05:24 PM

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