According to a report written by the Center for Political Research, which performs Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs intelligence reports, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, despite always stressing internationally that “anti-semitism is a crime against humanity,” in reality “indirectly incites and encourages anti-semitism” within Turkey. The report asserts that “for Erdogan and some of those around him, there is no distinction between Israeli and Jewish, and therefore their anti-Israel fervor and criticism becomes anti-Jewish.”

For example, in 2011, Erdogan made an anti-Semitic remark, “I would like to see accurate statistics of how many Israelis have been killed by the bombs thrown by Palestinians or with the rockets that were launched by them?… We know that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed… neither Turkey nor the Muslims in the region have exerted such cruelty on Israel… Israel is inexplicably cruel, against innocent Palestinians, hiding behind the Nazi Holocaust and seeking victimhood….Everybody knows what Israel is about.” This particular quote, which portrayed Israelis as blood thirsty, was ranked to be the second worst anti-Israel slur uttered in 2011 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. During that year, Erdogan was only topped by Mahmoud Abbas in the level of anti-Israel incitement, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Unfortunately, even worse statements were uttered by Erdogan even before the Mavi Marmara affair and the subsequent collapse in Turkish-Israeli relations. In 1998, the Jewish Policy Research reported that Erdogan, then mayor of Istanbul, stated, “The Jews have begun to crush the Muslims in Palestine, in the name of Zionism. Today, the image of the Jews is no different than that of the Nazis.” Thus, as we see from this statement, not only does Erdogan compare Zionism to Nazism, which Nathan Sharansky has asserted is clearly anti-semitic in itself, but Erdogan even does not distinguish between Israelis and Jews, just as the report from the Center for Policy Research claimed was the case.

Furthermore, Erdogan has stated that the international media does not fully report Israel’s “murder of innocent children” because “the world media is under the control of Israel, and this needs to be emphasized.” Such an assertion is classically anti-semitic because it is a frequent anti-semitic argument that Jews control the media. The Russian anti-semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, claimed this, as well as Nazis and Islamist propaganda. But as if these quotes were not problematic enough, Erdogan also made a statement which entertained the notion that all Jews are wealthy, which is another anti-semitic stereotype. According to Erdogan, “Wherever Jews settle, they make money.”

Evidently, Wikileaks reported in October 2009 a cable sent by the American Embassy in Ankara which stated the following about Israel’s then Ambassador to Turkeys’ view of Erdogan: “Levy dismissed political calculation as a motivator for Erdogan’s hostility, arguing the prime minister’s party had not gained a single point in the polls from his bashing of Israel. Instead, Levy attributed Erdogan’s harshness to deep-seated emotion: ‘He’s a fundamentalist. He hates us religiously and his hatred is spreading.’”

Neither the Wikileaks document speaking about former Israeli Ambassador Gaby Levys’ view of Erdogan nor the report from the Center for Political Research should come as a surprise to any one who is family with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Indeed, even back in 1974, Erdogan wrote, directed, and played the leading part in an anti-semitic play titled Maskomya. Maskomya translates to Masons-Communists-Jews and the play focused on how Free Masons, Communists and Jews were united by a common conspiracy centered on Judaism, implying that Erdogan has held anti-semitic views throughout almost his entire career.

By Rachel Avraham