Aug 19 2018

Opposition candidate apologizes for criticizing Erdoğan over Jewish award

Turkey’s main opposition presidential candidate in the June 24 elections Muharrem İnce on Sunday apologized for criticising President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for receiving a Jewish award, stating he did so to point out the Turkish president’s hypocrisy on Israel, Marxist news website SoL reported.

 Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate İnce, who came second to Erdoğan in the June elections, had criticised the president for not being sufficiently anti-Western and anti-imperialist in the country’s diplomatic rift with the United States, saying, “You are the one who was deemed worthy of Jewish Courage Award for your services and the one who deemed this award worthy for yourself,” in an apparent reference to the Profile of Courage Award presented to Erdoğan by the American Jewish Congress in 2004. 

"My intention was to expose the hypocrisy of the Turkish administration regarding Israeli policies,’’ İnce said.

"The criticism I levelled at him regarding the Jewish Courage Award was wrong. I apologize. I would never want for our Jewish citizens to be upset. Racism is not something I partake in.’’

Erdoğan has been a vocal critic of Israel, most recently in the country’s deadly force against protesters at the Gaza border earlier this year following the U.S. decision to open its new embassy in Jerusalem.