Several Jewish organizations have condemned statements reportedly made Tuesday by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay accusing the “Jewish diaspora” of causing unrest in his country.
Atalay was quoted by various media outlets as saying the “Jewish diaspora” was responsible for “the conspiracy” that was “trying to block the way of Great Turkey.”
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations released a statement on behalf of Chairman Robert G. Sugarman and Executive Vice Chairman/CEO Malcolm Hoenlein, warning that “Such comments are becoming more commonplace as the government seeks excuses for the outrage of its citizens,” and that political leaders “must be held accountable for the irresponsibility and consequences of their diatribes.”
The Anti-Defamation league likewise chastised the remarks and called on the Turkish prime minster and other government officials to “publicly and vociferously reject Mr. Atalay’s statement” if the reports about his remarks are accurate.
“The anti-Semitic nature of this conspiratorial statement would be disturbing if uttered by anyone in Turkey,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “It is all the more outrageous and harmful coming from such a high ranking member of the Turkish government. We share the concerns expressed by the Turkish Jewish community about the possible consequences of this rash remark.”
The Turkish Jewish community released a statement Tuesday expressing its own worry over the reports.
“We would like to express our concern that all Jews around the world, including Turkish Jews, may become the target because of this sort of generalization in almost every situation,” the statement read.
Following the outcry, Atalay’s press office claimed in a written statement Tuesday that the minister had not said anything offensive to Jews.
“In his speech [Deputy PM Atalay] has never intended, uttered or indicated anything to offend Jewish citizens of Turkey or Jewish communities around the world,” the statement said.