Israeli tourism minister: Erdogan is the enemy


Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beiteinu ) yesterday slammed Turkish Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan, saying that while Turkey isn’t Israel’s enemy, Erdogan is.

“The Turkish people aren’t the enemy, but Erdogan is Israel’s enemy,” said Misezhnikov in response to Erdogan’s comments that Turkey’s problem is with the Israeli government, and not the Israeli people. Earlier yesterday, Erdogan said that his country did not have a problem with Israel’s people but rather with its government’s policies, the Turkish news agency Andolu reported.

“This isn’t a healthy situation, and unless he leaves office there is no room for optimism,” Misezhnikov said during a cultural event in Bat Yam. He added that there are indications that Erdogan isn’t speaking as a representative of the Turkish people, and that the country is divided in its support for him.

The tourism minister also called on Israelis to heed the government’s warnings and refrain from traveling to Turkey. The Tourism Ministry is due to meet today to discuss ways to draw travelers toward staying in Israel for their summer vacation.

The Turkish PM stressed that his country would continue to investigate Israel’s attack on the Turkish-flagged aid flotilla led by the Mavi Marmara on which nine activists were killed.

“We have not remained silent against this piracy and injustice, and we will not do so, and we will seek solutions within the framework of international law,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara. Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel to agree to an international investigation of the commando raid on the Turkish ship trying to bring aid to Gaza and do “much more” to meet the needs of the Palestinians living there.

Ban said Friday that Israel’s investigation of the May 31 flotilla raid is important but won’t have “international credibility,” which is why he is continuing to urge the Israeli government to agree to an international panel with Israeli and Turkish participation.

Last week Israel, under mounting international pressure, said it would set up an internal five-person panel, including two foreign observers, to investigate events surrounding the flotilla raid.