WASHINGTON (JTA) — The members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee called on Turkish President Abdullah Gul to condemn anti-Semitic remarks made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials.
In a letter dated July 30, the 46 committee members said Gul should condemn Erdogan’s recent statement blaming “the interest rate lobby,” which the lawmakers called a “thinly veiled” reference to Jews, for the protest movement that recently originated in Gezi Park.
It also referred to other comments by senior Turkish officials more directly blaming the Jews for the unrest.
The letter emphasized the U.S.-Turkey relationship, including Turkey’s contributions to the NATO alliance, the partnership in Afghanistan, combating terrorism and absorbing hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.
It stressed that anti-Semitic rhetoric by government officials “has no place in a democracy and puts unnecessary strains on the relationship between our two great countries.”
Reps. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) initiated the letter.
A letter sent in March had urged Erdogan to retract a statement in which he referred to Zionism as a “crime against humanity.” Erdogan apologized for the remark to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call but has yet to do so in a public setting.