Washington, DC— U.S. Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement regarding Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay’s accusation that “diaspora Jews” are behind the recent protests in Turkey.

The statement follows:

“I strongly condemn Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Atalay’s anti-Semitic slur, claiming that “diaspora Jews” were behind the recent protests in Turkey. The Turkish government has blamed everyone but the true culprit – itself – for its recent troubles. Its resort to anti-Semitic incitement is as frightening and dangerous as it is scurrilous. Atalay’s statement is an insult to both Turkey’s history as a supporter of the Jewish people during the Inquisition and the Holocaust, and to the Turkish people, whom he is trying to manipulate for political ends.”

“Prime Minister Erdogan often claims that he considers anti-Semitism a crime against humanity. Let him prove that conviction by immediately firing Atalay from his cabinet. His doing so -- or failure to do so – will reveal volumes about Mr. Erdogan’s true feelings regarding Jews, justice, and anti-Semitism.”