While speaking at Turkey’s Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Ankara, and addressing members of his country’s Jewish community on Wednesday, Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek took the opportunity to use the memorializing moment to attack Israel for the war against Hamas in Gaza this past summer. He also called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
“In these days when we commemorate the pains of the past, nobody can ignore the massacring of more than 2,000 children and women during the latest Gaza attack,” Çiçek said, as he spoke at the memorial which recalled the systematic execution of six million Jews at the hands of German Nazis. According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, he also said that “It will be impossible to resolve all these problems or to bring peace to the Middle East unless this conflict is settled and an independent Palestine is formed.”
Çiçek also used Holocaust Remembrance Day to equate anti-Semitism with Islamophobia and had even summoned the recent Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks at the hands of Islamists to demonstrate his point. “Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other sorts of racism, discrimination and xenophobia are maladies that are fed from the same swamp,” he said.
His words mirrored those of several other Turkish heads of state, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who on Jan. 15 compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Islamist jihadists that carried out the Paris attacks. “Just as the massacre in Paris committed by terrorists is a crime against humanity, Netanyahu… has committed crimes against humanity,” he said according to Reuters.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon issued a response to Çiçek on Thursday, in what he described as being Turkey’s “absolutely inappropriate” and “unjust” criticism, according to Algemeiner. “Israel expresses its disappointment that a solemn event of an international nature dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust victims was misused in order to criticize Israeli policies,” Nahshon said.
Adelle is on Twitter @AdelleNaz.