European Jews, Turkey Talk Iran

European Jewish Congress leaders expressed their concerns over Iran’s nuclear program in a meeting with top Turkish officials. 

The EJC delegation, headed by President Moshe Kantor, and Turkish Jewish community leaders met Monday and Tuesday with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. 

Among the topics of discussion were calls for Turkey in its new position as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to take a leading role in stabilizing the Middle East, especially in light of the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program. 

The EJC wants Turkey to keep military hardware from Iran passing through its territory on its way to Lebanon to assist Hezbollah. 

Erdogan expressed his hope that the upcoming Israeli elections would not halt the talks with Syria, in which Turkey is serving as an intermediary, and his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Olmert, would continue the process while he remains in office. The EJC delegation noted Syria’s close ties to terror organizations. 

The prime minister also said Turkey would assist with the negotiations for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. 

An annual interfaith dialogue and Turkey’s role in undermining anti-Semitism and racism also were discussed. 

Gul agreed to send Turkish representatives to two EJC initiatives, the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation and the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe.