European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday condemned the Turkish prime minister’s statements against Zionism last month following pressure from EU parliamentarians.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at a United Nations event in February and said that Zionism was a “crime against humanity” and compared it to racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
“I don’t know what he said,” Ashton said in response to a question by a reporter about Erdogan’s statement. “The reports of what he said are unacceptable. Those remarks said by anybody would be unacceptable to the EU, now and forever.”
Erdogan’s comments were the latest in a series of incidents since 2010 that have driven apart Israel and its former allies in Ankara. US President Barack Obama’s visit next week, however, may redirect the course of Israel-Turkey relations back into more amicable waters, US diplomatic sources told Channel 2.
According to the Americans, Obama is expected to try to mend relations between Jerusalem and Ankara.
Israeli sources, however, said they were not certain that Erdogan is interested in improving relations with Israel, despite the fact that Jerusalem has signaled willingness to apologize for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.
Nine Turkish citizens were killed in clashes with the IDF aboard the ship that was sailing to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
The Israelis added that, despite gestures by Jerusalem, Erdogan isn’t showing signs of flexibility about making amends with Israel.