İhsanoğlu to PM Erdoğan: It’s not me who received medal from Israeli lobby
‘I haven’t received any medals from Israel. I haven’t received a medal of courage from the Israeli lobby,’ Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu says. DHA PhotoThe main opposition parties’ presidential candidate, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, on Aug. 8 left aside his mild tone in responding to claims from competitor Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that it was in fact Erdoğan and not he who received a medal from Israel.
While speaking at a meeting hosted by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) on Aug. 8, İhsanoğlu responded to the prime minister’s comments, which claimed he was an “Israel man,” during his campaign.
“He [Erdoğan] is lying about me when he calls me an ‘Israel man,’” İhsanoğlu said. “I haven’t received any medals from Israel. I haven’t received a medal of courage from the Israeli lobby [the American Jewish Congress],” he added.
A decade ago, the New York-based American Jewish Congress awarded Erdoğan its “Profile of Courage” award in 2004 for what it said was his stance on fighting terrorism and working toward peace.
However, the association recently said Erdoğan has become the world’s “most virulent anti-Israel leader” and demanded he return the award, which they gave him partly for his efforts to broker peace between Israel and Palestinians, in 2014.
“I received the Medal of al-Quds Star from the Palestinian president for my service to the Palestinian cause. They appreciated me, not somebody else. I did completely what he [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] said,” İhsanoğlu said.
In the summer of 2013, Abbas decorated then-secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) İhsanoğlu with the Medal of al-Quds Star, which is the highest medal from the State of Palestine.
During the decoration ceremony, Abbas said “The medal comes in recognition of İhsanoğlu’s efforts in support of the city of al-Quds [Jerusalem] and the issue of Palestine.”
Meanwhile, İhsanoğlu emphasized how he was engaged in cooperation with TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu in improving Turkey’s trade relations with Muslim countries during his term of office as the OIC chief from January 2005 to December 2013.
“Due to the heroism in our policy, however, [foreign] investments ran away [from Turkey]. The insulting remarks that we used against them,” İhsanoğlu said, in an apparent reference to the government’s policy in the Middle East. He underlined how in the past, Turkey was acting carefully and not taking sides in conflicts between Arab countries.
“Syria and Iraq have gone. The Gulf has given up. Our relations with the West are being influenced because of these reasons. Our economy won’t continue to be positive,” İhsanoğlu added.