The United States is expressing its disapproval with the comments of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who this week said Zionism should be viewed as a crime against humanity.
U.S. officials say Secretary of State John Kerry plans to personally raise the issue with Turkish officials during his visit to the country, which begins Friday. The officials, speaking anonymously, said the comments were “particularly offensive” and have a “corrosive effect” on relations.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Erdogan told a United Nations forum in Vienna that Islamophobia should be considered a crime against humanity, “just as with Zionism, anti-Semitism, and fascism.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the comments as “dark and mendacious.”
A spokesperson for U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called the statement unfortunate, hurtful and divisive.
Once-close relations between Turkey and Israel have deteriorated since a deadly 2010 Israeli raid on a Turkish aid ship that was part of a flotilla trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Nine Turks were killed in the raid. Israel says its forces acted in self-defense.