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Analyst: Erdogan "retracts" on Zionism

To start with, Zionism was a crime against humanity; now Recep Tayyip Erdogan says ”We still recognise Israel”.

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Tukey's Prime MInister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is currently on an official visit to Denmark. Archive.

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By Martin Slesøe Sørensen, Turkey Correspondent

Less than three weeks ago Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a UN forum in Vienna, that Zionism is a crime against humanity alongside fascism and anti-Semitism. On Wednesday the Turkish prime minister meets the Danish Queen and prime minister with a different message.

“I understand that my statement in Vienna led to some debate. But no one should misunderstand what I said,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Politiken in an e-mail.

“Everyone should know that my criticisms on certain issues, especially Gaza and the settlements, are directed at Israeli policies. And it’s entirely natural for us to continue to criticize Israel, as long as it will not give up its approach of denying the right to exist of the Palestinian state. On the other hand, we have recognized and continue to recognize the Israeli State, within the framework of the 1967 borders and on the basis of the two-state solution,” he says.

US Secretary of State John Kerry called the Zionism comment “objectionable” and 89 members of Congress have written to the Turkish leader asking him to retract his statement. He has not yet done that, but in an interview with Politiken he explains his comment for the first time and says that it was targeted at Israel’s policies and not Israel’s right to exist.

Translated by Julian Isherwood

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