Turkey sees anti-Semitism as a crime against humanity, as much a crime as Islamophobia, Turkey’s President said Wednesday.
“Just as we see Islamophobia as a crime against humanity, we also see anti-Semitism as a crime against humanity,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, receiving members of the Jewish community in Turkey and the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States (ARIS) at the presidential complex in the capital, Ankara.
The Chief Rabbi of Turkey, Isaak Haleva, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, and other leading rabbinic authorities were among the participants.
Reminding that Turkey was the co-host of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 and co-presenter of the 2007 decision on the undeniability of the Holocaust, Erdogan said: “I do not accept any approach that marginalizes people because of their faith or ethnic origin.”
Additionally, “Turkish lands have also been a haven of peace for Jews who have been persecuted in different parts of the world throughout history,” he said, adding Turkey embraced the Jews who fled the Inquisition in 1492.
Praising the contributions of Jewish citizens to the development, strengthening and achievement of the country’s goals for centuries, he said: “We did not allow inhuman ideas such as racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance to other religions to find ground in these lands.”
Also, “we need to be in solidarity in the fight against Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, especially in Western countries,” he added.
Highlighting the importance of boosting the environment of peace and stability in the Middle East, Erdogan said: “Turkey’s greatest desire is a Middle East where societies from different religions, languages and ethnicities live together in peace.”
Turkey’s warnings to the Israeli government are to ensure that matters are approached via the perspective of long-term peace and stability in the Middle East, he added.
Meanwhile, touching on Turkish-Israeli ties, Erdogan said that despite the differences of opinion on Palestine, “relations with Israel in the fields of economy, trade and tourism are progressing in their own way.”
“Israel’s sincere and constructive attitude in the context of peace efforts will undoubtedly contribute to the normalization process. Turkey-Israel relations are vital for the stability and security of our region,” he added.
“The steps to be taken on the Palestinian issue, especially in Jerusalem, will contribute to the security and stability of not only the Palestinians but also Israel. In this regard, I attach great importance to our renewed dialogue with both Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.”