This comes as no surprise to those of us who’ve followed Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s career — he is a raving anti-Semite who got his start in an Jew-bashing theatrical production and has a long history of making idiotic remarks. At Commentary, our friend Michael Rubin reports:
Criticizing Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the center-left and secular Republican Peoples Party (CHP), Erdoğan declared, “Kılıçdaroğlu is striving every bit he can to raise himself from the level of a black person to the level of a white man.” The Turkish word—Zenci—Erdoğan used is often used in a derogatory way.
In light of President Obama’s frequent professions of friendship and admiration for Turkey’s prime minister, it’ll be interesting to see how this one goes over. As I recount in Spring Fever:
“The bottom line is that we find ourselves in frequent agreement upon a wide range of issues,” the president said of Erdogan in March 2012, upon seeking him out at a South Korea summit for advice on the crisis in Syria, the tumult in Egypt, the nukes in Iran — even on the challenges of raising young daughters (both men have two, though the prime minister’s are considerably older).