Conference of Presidents Leaders Call Comments on Israel by Turkish President Erdogan Unjustified and Excessively Harsh

New York, N.Y.  . . .  Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations today said comments over the weekend by Turkish President Erdogan about Israel following President Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital were excessively harsh and unjustified. The leaders also said President Erdogan’s comments were beyond the bounds of legitimate political debate about Israeli policies and stirred extremism and incitement to violence.

In a letter to President Erdogan Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman of the Conference of Presidents wrote,

“Because of our longstanding relationship with Turkey, we are writing on behalf of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to share with you our profound concern regarding your recent excessively harsh statements about Israel following President Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

We recognize the sensitivities involved and your right to disagree with a U.S. policy decision.  We also respect the profound significance Muslims accord religious sites in Jerusalem. Every sovereign nation, including Israel, has the right to designate its own capital city and seat of government and every country has the right to determine the contours of its diplomatic relations with other countries, as Turkey did in 1949 when it became the first Muslim majority country to recognize the State of Israel.

We are deeply troubled by press reports in which you are quoted saying “Israel is a terror state” and an “occupier state”, and referred to Israel’s “oppression built upon the blood of innocent children.”

We find unacceptable your recent statements about Israel.  Regrettably, these unjustified accusations go far beyond the bounds of legitimate political debate about Israeli or U.S. policies, serving to stir extremism, incite violence, and diminish Turkey’s standing in the region and the world.

Turkey can play a valuable role in bringing stability to the region.  As an important leader in the region and in the Muslim world, as the current Chair of the OIC, we hope you will use your position to contribute to bringing Israel and the Palestinians together in their quest for peace and security.”

 

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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