Turkey’s Erdogan Abruptly Cancels Scheduled Meeting With Jewish Leader in New York
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday abruptly canceled a planned meeting with World Jewish Congress (WJC) leader Ronald Lauder in New York, according to a report appearing in the Turkish Today’s Zamen newspaper.
Erdoğan, who arrived in the United States on Monday for the 69th United Nations General Assembly session, refused to agree to a request to move the meeting with the influential advocacy group to later that evening, according to the private Doğan news agency, citing sources from Erdoğan’s entourage.
A WJC official told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that their group was “not commenting on this story.”
The English-language Turkish newspaper the Daily Sabah reported on the planned meeting and noted that Erdoğan “has previously vowed to protect the rights of the Jewish community in Turkey and has asserted that the government will never let the Jewish people in Turkey get hurt.”
But this summer, during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, Erdoğan had accused the Jewish state of committing “genocide” and waging “terrorism” against the Palestinians. Erdoğan also said Israel’s “barbarism has surpassed even Hitler’s” and dismissed the possibility of normalizing relations with Israel.
Under his leadership, Turkish newspapers have printed columns calling on Turkish Jews to apologize for Israeli actions.
In July, Erdoğan agreed to return the “Profile of Courage” award he had received from the American Jewish Congress in 2004 for working to help bring peace to the Middle East and his commitment to protect the Jewish community in Turkey.
Erdoğan is scheduled to hold several meetings with world leaders during the week-long assembly session, among them US President Barack Obama, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
While Israel has avoided criticizing Turkey and hoped to renew rocky ties in the four years since the infamous Gaza flotilla debacle, now Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government is emphasizing Ankara’s ties to terrorist activities in the Middle East – including support for Hamas, one of Israel’s main adversaries, NRG News reported in early September.
“Qatar and Turkey support Hamas and are members of the UN. Turkey is also a member of NATO,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon recently said at the 14th International Conference of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
Dispensing with political niceties, Ya’alon demanded the international community draw a unified moral line in the sand against terrorism.
“The foreign terrorist headquarters of Hamas sits in Istanbul. Salah Aruri is the man sitting there. Where is the world? When we talk about the war on terror, it starts with whether we’re choosing to ignore this kind of phenomenon, countries which sponsor terrorism and terrorist activity without hiding it,” Ya’alon charged.