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Rubio Calls On Prime Minister Of Turkey To Stop Hateful Rhetoric Against Israel, Prevent Confrontation

Aug 13, 2014 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today called on the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, to halt his hateful anti-Israel rhetoric, and prevent organizations operating in Turkey from provoking a confrontation with Israeli forces.

In a letter to Erdo?an, Rubio expressed concern over Erdo?an’s recent anti-Israel comments, and urged him to take any necessary preventable measures regarding reports that organizations operating in Turkey are attempting to breach Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

“In response to thousands of rocket attacks on Israel launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations from Gaza, Israel instituted a naval blockade to prevent items that could be used to support these attacks from entering Gaza by sea. The intent of the measures is to protect Israel, while still allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza.” wrote Rubio. “I encourage you to take all appropriate measures to keep these organizations from provoking a confrontation with Israeli forces and violating this blockade. A publicity stunt by Turkish organizations in 2010 led to the regrettable loss of life, and it would be irresponsible for your government not to take measures to avoid a similar outcome this time.”

“I was thus deeply troubled by your comments at a campaign event on August 3rd comparing Israel’s recent actions to Nazi Germany’s genocidal campaign against Jews and other minorities with the statement ‘Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target,’” added Rubio. “Such deplorable comments and anti-Israel views have become increasingly common among senior Turkish officials and severely undermine our mutual interest in collaboration to address the common challenges our nations face.”

A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text of the letter is below:

August 13, 2014

His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdo?an
Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey
c/o Embassy of Turkey to the United States
2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

Dear Prime Minister Erdo?an:

I write with great concern about your comments regarding Israel’s recent actions in Gaza, and reports that organizations operating in Turkey are planning to breach Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. 

In response to thousands of rocket attacks on Israel launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations from Gaza, Israel instituted a naval blockade to prevent items that could be used to support these attacks from entering Gaza by sea. The intent of the measures is to protect Israel, while still allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza. I encourage you to take all appropriate measures to keep these organizations from provoking a confrontation with Israeli forces and violating this blockade. A publicity stunt by Turkish organizations in 2010 led to the regrettable loss of life, and it would be irresponsible for your government not to take measures to avoid a similar outcome this time.

The United States has not forgotten how a centuries-old legacy of tolerance led to Turkey being the first Muslim-majority country to recognize the State of Israel in 1949. Your nation led the region, and much of the world, in acknowledging the right of the Jewish people to live in peace and security. The relationship between Turkey and Israel has historically been strong, and mutually advantageous. Although strained on the political level in recent years, economic interaction remains robust.

I was thus deeply troubled by your comments at a campaign event on August 3rd comparing Israel’s recent actions to Nazi Germany’s genocidal campaign against Jews and other minorities with the statement “Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target.” Such deplorable comments and anti-Israel views have become increasingly common among senior Turkish officials and severely undermine our mutual interest in collaboration to address the common challenges our nations face.

Given our nations’ long-standing partnership, and Turkey’s significant role in NATO, I urge you to halt this incendiary rhetoric regarding Israel. Additionally, I request that you take all appropriate measures to keep organizations operating in Turkey from provoking a confrontation with Israeli forces by attempting to breach Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio
United States Senator