Kerry to Rap Turkey PM for Zionism 'Crime Against Humanity' Comments

Friday, 01 Mar 2013 07:45 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A row over Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's description of Zionism as a crime against humanity risked overshadowing Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Turkey on Friday, his first to a Muslim nation since taking office.

Kerry is meeting Turkish leaders in talks meant to focus on Syria's civil war and bilateral interests from energy security to counter-terrorism.

But Erdogan's comment at a U.N. meeting in Vienna this week, condemned by his Israeli counterpart, the White House, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has clouded his trip.

Urgent: Sequester Day – Obama to Blame? Vote in Urgent Poll

"This was particularly offensive, frankly, to call Zionism a crime against humanity. . . . It does have a corrosive effect [on relations]," a senior U.S. official told reporters as Kerry flew to Ankara.

"I am sure the secretary will be very clear about how dismayed we were to hear it," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Washington needs all the allies it can get as it navigates the political currents of the Middle East, and sees Turkey as the key player in supporting Syria's opposition and planning for the era after President Bashar al-Assad.

But the collapse of its ties with Israel have undermined U.S. hopes that Turkey could play a role as a broker in the broader region.

"The Turkey-Israel relationship is frozen," the U.S. official said. "We want to see a normalization . . . not just for the sake of the two countries but for the sake of the region and, frankly, for the symbolism," he said.

"Not that long ago [you] had these two countries demonstrating that a majority Muslim country could have very positive and strong relations with the Jewish state and that was a sign for the region [of what was] possible."

Erdogan told the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations meeting in Vienna on Wednesday: "Just as with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it has become necessary to view Islamophobia as a crime against humanity."

The head of Europe's main rabbinical group condemned his words as a "hateful attack" on Jews.

Ties between Israel and mostly Muslim Turkey have been frosty since 2010, when Israeli marines killed nine Turks in fighting aboard a Palestinian aid ship that tried to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

In recent weeks, there has been a run of reports in the Turkish and Israeli media about efforts to repair relations, including a senior diplomatic meeting last month in Rome and military equipment transfers.

The reports have not been confirmed by either government.

SUPPORT FOR SYRIAN OPPOSITION

Officials said Syria would top the agenda when Kerry meets Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, building on the discussions in Rome between 11 mostly European and Arab nations within the "Friends of Syria" group.

After the Rome meeting, Kerry said on Thursday the United States would for the first time give non-lethal aid to the rebels and more than double support to the civilian opposition, although Western powers stopped short of pledging arms.

"We need to continue the discussion which took place in Rome . . . in terms of the main goals there is no daylight between us and the Americans," a senior Turkish official said.

"A broad agreement was reached on supporting the opposition. Now our sides need to sit down and really flesh out what we can do to support them in order to change the balance on the ground," he said.

Turkey has been one of Assad's fiercest critics, hosting a NATO Patriot missile defence system, including two U.S. batteries, to protect against a spillover of violence and leading calls for international intervention.

Urgent: Sequester Day – Obama to Blame? Vote in Urgent Poll

It has spent more than $600 million sheltering refugees from the conflict that began almost two years ago, housing some 180,000 in camps near the border and tens of thousands more who are staying with relatives or in private accommodation.

Washington has given $385 million in humanitarian aid for Syria but President Barack Obama has so far refused to give arms, arguing it is difficult to prevent them from falling into the hands of militants who could use them on Western targets.

Turkey, too, has been reluctant to provide weapons, fearing direct intervention could cause the conflict to spill across its borders.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Ben Carson: Americans 'Being Played' by Those Who Seek Division

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 22:02 PM

Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson said Thursday that Americans are "being played by those people who want to . . .

Pro-Russian Group Denies Producing Ukraine Jewish 'Registration' Leaflets

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 15:07 PM

Ukrainian Jews leaving Passover eve prayers were handed leaflets ordering them to either register with an interim govern . . .

Bolton: Reports of anti-Jewish Leaflets Show Huge Trouble in Ukraine

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 20:51 PM

Reports of anti-Jewish leaflets being handed out in the Donetsk province of Ukraine are a bad sign the struggle in the a . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved