11 March 2013 -- Brussels -- The AJC Transatlantic Institute praised a group of European parliamentarians for urging EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton to condemn Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hateful rhetoric towards Israel at today's Foreign Affairs Council.
"These 20 Members of the European Parliament have rightly pointed to the EU's obligation to rebuke Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s inexcusable verbal assault on Israel's existence," said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the Brussels-based AJC Transatlantic Institute. "Given that Turkey is a candidate to join the European Union, we need a strong statement from EU Foreign Ministers today, just as we have seen from the UN Secretary General and the White House, to send a powerful and necessary message to the Turkish Prime Minister."
Erdogan, speaking at a UN conference in Vienna on March 1, called Zionism, the historic Jewish movement for national self-determination, a "crime against humanity.”
“We condemn this statement in no uncertain terms and call on you to do the same,” stated the letter to Ashton from European Parliament members. “Anything short of a firm rebuke is insufficient.” The MEPs who signed the letter include representatives of 11 countries and five political groups.
"The banality of Mr. Erdogan’s comparison needs little explanation: Zionism is the fulfillment of the national rights and aspirations of the Jewish people and must not be denied,” wrote the parliamentarians. “We have a further obligation to speak out against these acts, not simply in defense of Israel but in promotion of our core values of tolerance and democracy.”