Friday, January 15, 2010

Israeli columnist: Erdogan targets Kurds


Jerusalem - Columnist Michael Freund of the Jerusalem Post wrote a columnabout the recent diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Israel. He fiercely criticized Turkey and said someone needs to remind Erdogan of his own policies towards the Kurds, referring to the arrest of a Kurdish activist.

Turkey has accepted an official apology from Israel over the treatment of its ambassador, with the Israeli prime minister expressing the hope it would end the latest row between the two countries, reports Al Jazeera.

Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, embarrassed Oguz Celikkol, the Turkish envoy, on Monday, making him sit on a low couch and removing the Turkish flag from the table in a meeting called to convey Israeli protests over a Turkish television series.

But Michael Freund says Ayalon shouldn’t apologize. “As a sovereign state, we have the right and the obligation to berate those who sully our honor, and Ayalon should be commended for standing up and demonstrating some good, old fashioned Jewish pride.”

The Israeli columnist said that the Kurds of southeastern Turkey have been targeted for decades by a policy of displacement and forced acculturation in Turkey, while Turkey criticizes Israel for maltreating the Palestinians. “Last month, Erdogan sent theTurkish police to arrest dozens of Kurdish political leaders and activists as part of an ongoing crackdown on the community. He also detained Muharrem Erbey, the president of Turkey's national Human Rights Association, who has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of the Kurds. I wonder what Erdogan's "excuse" is for this.”, Freund said.

Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (, which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

© Rudaw