MidEast

Turkey Lashes Out at U.S. After White House Condemns Turkish PM’s Anti-Jewish Conspiracy Theory

Diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Turkey escalated today, with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lashing out at Washington following recent criticism from U.S. officials:

In an interview broadcast live on private television channel Kanal 24 late on Aug. 21, Davutoğlu said that Erdoğan targeted a mentality in his comments claiming that Israel was behind the military takeover in Egypt. On Aug. 20, Erdoğan had claimed to have evidence that Israel orchestrated the July 3 military takeover that toppled the elected President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, triggering a strong response from Washington.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest earlier this week criticized a recent speech by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as “offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong.” Erdogan had declared, based on a 2011 video of a French-Jewish philosopher that he found online, that Israel had plotted to overthrow former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The White House blasted the conspiracy theory, prompting Davutoglu to declare that Ankara “could not accept [the] condemnation.”

Meanwhile analysts and journalists continued to unpack the significance of Erdogan’s “histrionics” to Turkish foreign policy. Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg bluntly described Erdogan as “a semi-unhinged bigot” and suggested that the prime minister’s anti-Semitism was “making him stupid.” The Wall Street Journal contextualized Erdogan’s statements:

Deeply upset by the ousting of its Islamic ally from power in Egypt by General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Mr. Erdogan has struck an increasingly anti-U.S., anti-Western, anti-Semitic and, since Tuesday, also an anti-Arab tone, blaming leaders across the globe for supporting Egypt’s military putsch and failing to support the democratically elected president.

Speaking off-the-record, some analysts also admit that there is an increasing worry over Mr. Erdogan’s worldview, which they say is getting increasingly out of touch with reality.

The result, the outlet suggests, is that “Turkey is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle East.”

[Photo: unaoc / Flickr]