Lieberman: Turkey's Erdogan Is Ideological Heir to Goebbels

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A day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Israel was behind the coup that ousted Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded, saying that he is the successor to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. 

Erdogan told members of his party on Tuesday that "Israel is behind the coup in Egypt, we have evidence." Erdogan mentioned the words of a French Jewish intellectual as evidence, who said in 2011 that the Muslim Brotherhood will not take power even if they were to be elected since "democracy is not the ballot box." Erdogan's comments were broadcast on state television.

On a tour of Arad on Wednesday, Lieberman, who is currently chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that "anyone who heard Erdogan's words, which were filled with hate and incitement, understands without any doubt that this is a continuation of the way of Goebbels."

"His plotting is along the lines of the Dreyfus Affair and the Elders of Zion," he added, referring to two well-known instances of anti-Semitism. 

Lieberman added that he "recommends that everyone that attacked me and Yisrael Beitenu on their absolute opposition to apologize to the Turks about the Marmara (the Gaza Flotilla) incident, to draw conclusions and hold themselves to account."

Erdogan's comments on Tuesday sparked global condemnation. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the U.S. strongly condemned the claims. "Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong," he said. 

In March, reconciliation efforts between Israel and Turkey began after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Erdogan to apologize for the botched raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 that killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American.

Erdogan suggested that normalization of ties with Israel would take time, hinting that Turkey wanted to ensure the victims of the flotilla raid were compensated and Israel remained committed to the easing of restrictions of goods to Gaza before restoring relations. The two countries have yet to decide on the exact sum of compensation that would be given to the flotilla victims' families. 

Avigdor Lieberman. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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