Congress Members to Erdogan: Your anti-Semitism Is Damaging U.S.-Turkey Ties

In letter to Turkey PM, lawmakers call his criticism of Israel – including accusation of barbarism worse than Hitler's – 'historically inaccurate and provocative.'

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Erdogan addresses party members at the Turkish parliament in Ankara. June 24, 2014.
Erdogan addresses party members at the Turkish parliament in Ankara. June 24, 2014.Credit: Reuters

Members of the U.S. Congress are losing patience with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In a sharply worded letter, Democrats and Republicans who've led House efforts to advance U.S.-Turkish relations warned Erdogan last week about what they considered to be his anti-Semitic comments. They told him he risked damaging ties between the United States and Turkey.

Turkey has been among the most outspoken critics of Israel for its military operations in Gaza. Erdogan has accused the Jewish state of "barbarism surpassing Hitler."

"Remarks you have made recently have been widely viewed as anti-Semitic and are most definitely anti-Israel," the House letter to Erdogan states, adding that they've made it harder to "communicate in a positive way about Turkey."

Erdogan's comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany is "historically inaccurate and provocative," the lawmakers write in the July 29 letter. They lament that Turkey at one time contributed to peace efforts in the Middle East, but the prime minister's recent comments "do nothing to end the violence, but rather could serve to instigate further hatred."

The lawmakers are Democrats Steve Cohen and Gerald Connolly and Republicans Ed Whitfield and Virginia Foxx.