2013 – Berlin – AJC is calling on authorities in a German state to investigate
threatening anti-Israel rhetoric at a rally in support of Turkish Prime
Minister Erdogan. Chants of “Down with Israel” and “Israel be cursed” in
Turkish were recited at Sunday’s demonstration in Duesseldorf.
horrified that supporters of Prime Minister Erdogan are using political
protests in Germany to fan anti-Israel sentiment,” said AJC Berlin Director
Deidre Berger. “Stoking the flames of anti-Semitism through denunciations of Israeli
policies is dangerous.”
on state authorities in North Rhine Westphalia to investigate the degree to
which the anti-Israel rhetoric at the pro-Erdogan rally was public incitement.
“We call on German politicians and civil society leaders to speak out and
condemn the anti-Israel agitation, which can only complicate current attempts
to improve strained Israeli-Turkish relations,” Berger said.
Turkish-language chants at the rally were brought to public attention by Lale
Akgun, a former member of the German parliament, who witnessed the
demonstration and reported it on her Facebook page. German television confirmed
the report, adding that the anti-Israel chants were loud and frequent.
thousands of the estimated 3.5 million German residents of Turkish descent, the
largest such community outside of Turkey, have participated in large
demonstrations in recent weeks regarding the current disturbances in Istanbul.
At a June
22 rally in Cologne an estimated 40,000 demonstrators protested the
Turkish government’s response to the peaceful protests against a building
project in Gezi Park. In Duesseldorf on July 7 an estimated 25,000 demonstrators
voiced support for Erdogan’s policies.
officials have criticized Erdogan, a frequent visitor to Germany, for making
appeals to the Turkish-speaking community in Germany to maintain close ties
demonstration in Duesseldorf follows public remarks in Turkey by representatives
of Erdogan’s AKP party, who blamed “Jewish interests” for the ongoing
demonstrations in Turkey. Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay claimed that the
Jewish Diaspora is behind the demonstrations in Turkey and that Jews are
responsible for negative media reports about Turkey. Istanbul Mayor
Ybrahim Melih Gökcek tweeted that the protests in Turkey are “a game of the
AJC has firmly condemned the anti-Semitic remarks of senior
Turkish officials, including Erdogan, and called on responsible world leaders
to speak out.