The U.S. Department of State issued a statement condemning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his antisemitic smears against Israel.
Erdoğan said Israel is a “terror state” and that President Joe Biden is “writing history with his bloody hands” by selling weapons to Israel to combat Hamas and other radical groups. The White House approved a $735 million sale of weapons to Israel on Monday.
After a cabinet meeting, Erdoğan told attendees the Turkish government is prepared to provide “political and military support for international efforts to liberate Jerusalem and protect the Palestinian people.” He also remarked that Austrians ought not to fly the Israeli flag and are “trying to make Muslims pay for the genocide to which it subjected the Jews” in World War II. Erdoğan reportedly said, “[Israeli’s] only are satisfied by sucking their blood,” and “it is in their nature” to commit “terrorism.”
“The United States strongly condemns President Erdogan’s recent anti-Semitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible,” said Ned Price, a State Department spokesman.
“We urge President Erdoğan and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence,” Price said. “We call on Turkey to join the United States in working to end the conflict. Anti-Semitic language has no place anywhere. The United States is deeply committed to combatting anti-Semitism in all of its forms. We take seriously the violence that often accompanies anti-Semitism and the dangerous lies that undergird it. We must always counter lies with facts and answer crimes of hate with justice.”
While Israel has continued to defend itself against terrorism from Hamas, which began launching rockets on May 10, Omer Celik, the spokeman for the AK Party in Turkey, said America’s claims that Erdoğan’s remarks were anti-semitic is a “lie.”
Erdoğan is no stranger to denying terrorism. On April 24, which is the day of an Armenian holiday remembering the genocide more than 100 years ago, Biden released a statement and declared the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks to be “genocide.” Meanwhile, the Turkish government said Biden’s acknowledgment will “open a deep wound that undermines our mutual trust and friendship.”
Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg called out Erdoğan for his comments, saying he is only encouraging more violence in Israel.
“It won’t be possible to solve the Middle East conflict while foaming at the mouth,” Schallenberg said. “Instead of pouring oil on the fire, Turkey is urgently called on to contribute to de-escalation.”