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Turkey's PM stands by Zionism remarks

March 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, March 20 (UPI) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he stands by his statement last month that Zionism was a crime against humanity.

Saying, "I stand behind my remarks," Erdogan said the comments "targeted certain critical issues, particularly Israeli policies in Gaza," Today's Zaman reported Wednesday.

It was his first response to criticism of his remarks by the United States, Israel and the European Union.

Complaining of prejudice against Muslims during a United Nations conference in Vienna in late February, Erdogan said Islamophobia should be considered a crime against humanity, "just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Erdogan's statement "objectionable," while EU Foreign Secretary Catherine Ashton said the prime minister's remarks were unacceptable.

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