UPDATE 2 - Turkey 'completely' rejects US statement on President Erdogan

UPDATE 2 - Turkey 'completely' rejects US statement on President Erdogan

Anti-Semitism should not be used to cover up Israel's ethnic, religious, cultural cleansing policies, says Turkish Foreign Ministry


By Burak Bir and Jeyhun Aliyev

ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Wednesday completely rejected the US State Department accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of anti-Semitism.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry called on the US to work to halt Israel's incessant attacks on Palestinian civilians, instead of leveling false accusations at the Turkish leader.

The concept of anti-Semitism should not be used to cover up Israel's ethnic, religious and cultural cleansing policies, the statement noted.

"The addressee of the remarks of our President is not the Jewish people, but the Israeli government, which has caused the deaths of many innocent Palestinians, most of whom were children, women and youngsters, through its indiscriminate attacks against Palestine for many days. On the other hand, our President merely recalled the words of a former Prime Minister of Israel," the ministry added.

The statement noted that Turkey has been the homeland for many Jews who fled the Inquisition centuries ago and from the Holocaust during the Second World War.

"Turkish society respects all religions and has a culture of peaceful coexistence of different faith groups. Anti-Semitism has never taken root in our society."

It underlined that courageous Turkish diplomats also helped rescue hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust and Jewish citizens in Turkey have been living for centuries in peace and tranquility, without any discrimination.

"Turkey is among the main sponsors of the UN Human Rights Council resolution that identified anti-Semitism as an assault on human rights for the first time. It is also worth recalling that anti-Semitism was repeatedly referred to and condemned by our President as a crime against humanity," it said.

The statement stressed that current policies followed by the US administration, which came to power campaigning for a law-based world order and the rule of international law, is in fact contradicting its core promises.

"Obviously, it is no coincidence that the baseless accusations against our President and the attempts to provide impunity to Israel at the UN Security Council originate from the same source," the statement read.

The ministry said lifting of the US veto in the UN Security Council on a motion against Israeli attacks will be the first step in this direction.

"We call on the US Administration to endeavor to stop Israel's attacks on the civilian population, instead of making unjust and unfounded accusations against our leaders," it added.

- US State Department

In a statement, the US State Department on Tuesday condemned what it called Erdogan's "anti-Semitic comments regarding the Jewish people."

Erdogan on Monday criticized Israel for attacks on civilians in Gaza and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He also criticized US arms sales to Israel.

Accusing Israel of being a "terrorist state" and violating Jerusalem, he said it was "ruthlessly" bombing civilians in Gaza.

Erdogan said that those supporting Israeli actions in Jerusalem and Gaza would go down in history as being complicit in the murder of children and crimes against humanity.

At least 221 Palestinians have been killed, including 63 children and 36 women, and 1,530 others injured in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since May 10, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Recent tensions that started in East Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan spread to Gaza as a result of Israeli assaults on worshippers in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

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