US senators, Congress members call on Turkish PM to retract Zionism comment
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AA photo
The U.S. Congress members and senators penned a letter directed at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, calling on him to retract his remarks that defined Zionism as a “crime against humanity.”
The letter, written by congressmen Steve Israel, Senator Mark Kirk, Doug Lamborn and Senator Bill Nelson, was sent to all other Congress members, inviting them to join in “sending a bipartisan, bicameral letter” to Erdoğan to express “grave disappointment” in his words. Eighty-nine members of the Congress ended up signing the letter.
While acknowledging the global danger of extremism, the letter says that Erdoğan’s comment “apprehends and disparages a noble historical enterprise,” Zionism, which is defined by the Congress members as “a non-discriminatory affirmation of Jewish nationhood.”
The letter highlights the “strong and mutually advantageous” relationship between Israel and Turkey despite recent disagreements and criticizes the recent change of tone toward Israel in Erdoğan’s government.
“We greatly regret the harsh tone adopted by you and senior Turkish officials toward Israel in the recent past,” the letter reads, describing Erdoğan’s remark as “appalling.”
The letter ends with members of the U.S. Congress calling on Erdoğan to restore the relationship between the nations and retract his comment.
Erdoğan called Zionism a “crime against humanity” last week in a United Nations conference in Vienna, saying, “just as with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it has become necessary to view Islamophobia as a crime against humanity.”