The rise of anti-Semitism in Turkey must be getting bad if Barack Obama is talking to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about combating it. Apparently, that’s exactly what’s happening.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to combat anti-Semitism, the White House said in a statement.
“The President met with Turkish President Erdogan today in Newport, Wales, where both leaders were attending the NATO Summit. They exchanged views on how best to cooperate in the struggle against ISIS and violent extremism in Iraq and Syria, and on the need for strengthened measures against foreign fighters transiting to and from the battlefield,” the statement said.
“They discussed the urgent need for effective pressure and diplomacy aimed at bringing to an end the conflicts in Ukraine and Libya. The President and President Erdogan also discussed the importance of building tolerant and inclusive societies and combating the scourge of anti-Semitism,” it added.
Under the rule of the Islamist AKP party of Erdogan, who used to be the country’s prime minister before his recent election as president, anti-Semitism has risen steadily, prompting many young Turkish Jews to leave the country.
That rising hatred has been blamed on vitriolic anti-Israel rhetoric by Turkish leaders and politicians, which often spills over into anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism from Turkey’s leaders is now unmasked and unadulterated. The Obama administration’s public words and statements about Israel are much more measured, even when its actions belie those words.
Erdogan and Turkish politicians are far less measured in what they say about Israel. As a NATO ally, it is no doubt politically damaging to the Obama administration – even if it is in solidarity with Turkey – to have Erdogan be so brazen when it comes to Israel.