Reps. Israel and Lamborn, Sens. Kirk and Nelson Join 85 Bi-partisan, Bi-cameral Members of Congress to Call on Prime Minister Erdoğan to Retract Incendiary Comment on Zionism

Press Release

By:  Steve Israel Mark Kirk Doug Lamborn Bill Nelson, Sr.
Date: March 12, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Reps. Steve Israel (D--NY) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) along with 85 other bi-partisan and bi-cameral Members of Congress sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan calling on him to retract his comment made before a U.N. conference in Vienna, which equated Zionism with Fascism and Anti-Semitism and called it a "crime against humanity."

Rep. Israel said, "Today, 85 Members of the U.S. Congress are expressing to Prime Minister Erdoğan that his outlandish comment is simply unacceptable. National leaders like Prime Minister Erdogan cannot be spouting incendiary rhetoric that further threatens unrest in an already perilous region. Zionism is a non-discriminatory affirmation of Jewish nationhood, and the Prime Minister's comment disparages this noble historical enterprise."

Rep. Lamborn said, "Prime Minister Erdogan simply must retract his statement. His comments were wrong and hurtful, particularly for a national leader. Turkey has a history of religious tolerance and I hope that Prime Minister Erdoğan leads his country back in that direction."

Sen. Kirk said, "Prime Minister Erdogan's latest comments were outrageous and offensive. Rather than pursuing closer ties with the United States, Europe and Israel, Erdoğan continues to pursue a policy of distance and isolation from the West. I urge the Prime Minister to apologize for his remarks and chart a better course for the future of the Turkish people."

Sen. Nelson said, "I sincerely hope that Prime Minster Erdogan will retract his inflammatory remark. This is a time when we should all be fully focused on advancing security and peace throughout the region."