Erdoğan’s antisemitism makes him unconvincing on Islamophobia - scholar

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s efforts to speak out against Islamophobia in the West are undermined by his anti-Semitic record, historian Eldad Ben Aharon said in an article for the Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

In October, Erdoğan said Europe’s Muslims were being treated like Jews before the Second World War. And research institutions linked to the Turkish government have sought to push the issue up the political agenda.

By making the comparison, Erdoğan has sought to “push the sensitive buttons of Europeans with regard to antisemitism and Holocaust memory,” Aharon said.  

However, “Erdoğan’s past of antisemitic remarks, constant tension with the European countries on his treatment of minorities and his systematic abuse of power” showed the president’s position on Islamophobia to be opportunistic, he said. 

“Since 2002, when Erdoğan’s (Justice and Development Party) came to power, there has been an increase in antisemitism against Turkish Jews. For example, the outbreak of the pandemic has even been blamed on the Jews through pro-government channels, which are spreading conspiracy theories.”