During an appearance at a UN Summit of the Alliance of Civilizations in Vienna today, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Zionism "a crime against humanity."
Erdogan did so in the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Ban did not denounce Erdogan's comments. Quel surprise.
Tomorrow Secretary of State John Kerry visits Turkey and will meet with Erdogan. Will Kerry condemn Erdogan's remarks much less bring them up in polite conversation?
Don't bet on it.
President Obama and Erdogan are pals. Last year, Obama told Fareed Zakaria that Erdogan was one of five foreign leaders with whom he has close personal ties. Needless to say, Benjamin Netanyahu did not make Obama's list. I'm sure Bibi is on Obama's list of his five least favorite world leaders. For his part, Netanyahu called Erdogan's remarks "dark and libelous."
Erdogan expressed warm feelings towards Obama last August, Erdogan described Obama as "a friend who never falls short of respect or politeness." His Secretary of State isn't going to do anything to change that. After meeting at a summit in South Korea in March 2012 Obama not only called Erdogan "a friend and colleague" but made a point of saying, "We find ourselves in frequent agreement on a wide range of issues."
I cannot help but wonder if Zionism is amongst that "wide range of issues" in which Obama finds himself in frequent agreement with Erdogan.
UPDATE: According to Reuters, Kerry will "upbraid" Erdogan over his remarks. I eagerly await.
UPDATE II: In a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Kerry said of Erdogan's remarks, "We not only disagree with it, we find it objectionable."
Objectionable? Bad service in a hotel restaurant is objectionable. Calling Zionism a crime against humanity is well beyond objectionable.
As of this writing, Kerry has yet to meet directly with Erdogan.
With that said, I suppose it's better than nothing.
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