World Bulletin / News Desk
European Union’s special representative for the Middle East peace process, Marc Otte, dismissed anti-Semitic accusations over Turkey’s criticism as "a weapon used a bit too easily by Israelis."
Israel accused Turkey's Erdogan of "being growingly anti-Semitic" since Turkish leaders and people condemned the killings and bombings on the occupied Palestinian territories.
“First of all, I don’t believe that the government of Turkey is anti-Semitic,” Otte said on Tuesday in an interview.
“I don’t believe that our governments or parliaments, when they criticize the behavior of Israel, are anti-Semitic. It is a weapon that is used a bit too easily by Israelis -- dangerous," he told Today’s Zaman.
"There is anti-Semitism in Europe. I recognize it but I often say to my Israeli interlocutor, ‘When we criticize you for what you do,’ it is legitimate. ‘We don’t criticize you for what you are. We criticize you for what you do’,” Otte said in the interview, held during his visit to Ankara for talks with Turkish officials.
Turkey strongly condemned Israel, that killed nearly 1500 Palestinians, a third of them children in the 22-day military aggression in Decemcer 2008 on Gaza and wounded more than 5000 Palestinians.
Otte noted, “I don’t see any sign of anti-Semitism here. You have a Jewish community that is part of the national consensus. I say that I don’t think that the reaction of your government is founded in anti-Semitism. It is founded in the criticism of the behavior of a certain government.”
Israel now faces UN war crimes report that particularly details Israel's alleged war crimes during the Gaza offensive.
The report, which was compiled by a panel led by Richard Goldstone, a South African judge, had already been endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council, which sponsored the fact-finding commission.
Most of the criticism in the Goldstone report was directed towards Israel's conduct during the offensive, in which it concluded that Israel used disproportionate force, deliberately targeting Gaza civilians, using them as human shields, and destroying civilian infrastructure.
Once-flourishing bilateral ties took a sharp downturn last year amid Israel's war on Gaza and its persisting blockade of the impoverished Palestinian enclave.
Ankara has said relations will continue to suffer unless Israel ends "the humanitarian tragedy" in Gaza and revives peace talks with the Palestinians.
Turkey demands Gaza borders be opened while Israel imposes siege into the occupied land home to 1.5 million people since June 2007.
Anti-Semitism Israel's 'weapon' over criticism, EU envoy says
EU special envoy for the Middle East peace process Otte, dismissed Israeli accusations over Turkey's criticism as a weapon used a bit too easily by Israelis.
World Bulletin / News Desk