Kerry slams Erdogan at Turkish press conference for anti-Zionist conferenceslammed Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's comment that Zionism is a 'crime against humanity' at a press conference in Ankara on Friday.
"We not only disagree with it, we found it objectionable," Kerry told a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, saying he raised the issue "very directly" with Davutoglu and would do so with Erdogan.
Erdogan told the UN Alliance of Civilizations meeting in Vienna on Wednesday: "Just as with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it has become necessary to view Islamophobia as a crime against humanity."
The Turkish prime minister's caustic rhetoric on Israel has in the past won applause from conservative supporters at home but raised increasing concern among Western allies.
Kerry said Turkey and Israel were both key US allies and urged them to restore closer ties.
"Given the many challenges that the neighborhood faces, it is essential that both Turkey and Israel find a way to take steps ... to rekindle their historic cooperation," Kerry said.
"I think that's possible but obviously we have to get beyond the kind of rhetoric that we've just seen recently."But Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu hit back.
"If we must talk about hostile acts, then Israel's attitude and its brutal killing of nine of our civilian citizens in international waters may be called hostile," Davutoglu said, adding Turkey had always stood against anti-Semitism.
"No single statement carries a price higher than the blood of a person ... If Israel wants to hear positive statements from Turkey it needs to reconsider its attitude both towards us and towards the West Bank," he told the news conference.
Turkey has demanded a formal apology for the 2010 incident, compensation for victims and their families and for the Gaza blockade to be lifted. Israel has voiced "regret" and has offered to pay into what it called a "humanitarian fund" through which casualties and relatives could be compensated.Read the whole thing.
Eventually, the US and the West will have to choose between Turkey and Israel.