Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu claimed late on Wednesday that anti-Israel remarks made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been misunderstood and taken out of context, and that he rejected censure by a White House spokesman, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Speaking on Turkish private broadcaster Kanal 24, Davutoğlu said Erdoğan was referring to a “mentality” in his comments claiming that Israel was behind the recent military coup in Egypt.
“He gives an example from a meeting of two years ago [in his speech.] He explains a mentality,” the foreign minister said.
On Tuesday, during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdoğan claimed to have “evidence” that Israel was behind the July 3 military takeover that toppled Muslim Brotherhood President Muhamed Morsi, in Egypt.
“Israel is behind the coup in Egypt,” Erdoğan told the party leaders, Hurriyet reported. “We have evidence,” he said, citing an unnamed “French intellectual.”
an open session between a Jewish intellectual from France and an Israeli justice minister before the first free elections in Egypt held in March.
A source told the Associated Press that the “evidence” that Erdoğan was referring to was a video “available on the Internet” of a press conference attended by Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and French philosopher and author Bernard-Henri Levy.
A video of the two, dating back to 2011, shows Levy saying: “If the Muslim Brotherhood arrives in Egypt, I will not say democracy wants it, so let democracy progress. Democracy is not only elections, it is also values.” Pressed further as to whether he would urge Egypt’s military to intervene against the Muslim Brotherhood, Levy said: “I will urge the prevention of them coming to power, but by all sorts of means.”
The AP also reported that a spokeswoman for Livni said of Erdogan’s remarks: “Any attempt to try and tie Israel and Minister Livni to Egypt’s internal affairs is unfounded.”
“Meanwhile, the office of Egypt’s new prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi said Erdoğan’s latest words ;have no basis in fact and are not accepted by any sane or fair person.’ It also said Erdoğan’s comments were intended to ‘target Egyptian national unity’ and warned that Cairo’s ‘patience was reaching breaking point,’” Hurriyet reported.
In Israel, Yisrael Beytenu MK Avigdor Liberman said on Wednesday that Erdoğan’s hateful words spoken against Israel are reminiscent of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
Erdoğan’s comments also triggered a strong response from Washington. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the comments were “offensive and unsubstantiated and wrong,” and damaging for regional cooperation.
In the Kanal 24 interview, Davutoğlu defended Erdoğan: “If you look to [Erdoğan’s] speech, he doesn’t even once mention the United States. We have transmitted to them that we could not accept a condemnation regarding a text in which the US wasn’t mentioned. I say for a country that is a friend and ally, nobody has the right of publish a condemnation about the Turkish prime minister without telling us,” Davutoğlu said, adding that he saw White House spokesman’s condemnation when he came back home.