Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a co-chairman of the Congressional caucus on Turkey, pressed the Turkish foreign minister on reports of anti-Semitism and human rights abuses in his country.
Cohen said he asked Ahmet Davutoglu when the caucus met Monday with a Turkish delegation about reports of a surge of anti-Semitism of the repression of dissent in Turkey.
“Just met w/Turkish delegation,” Cohen said in a Twitter post attached to a photo and a New York Times story detailing allegations of repression of dissent. “Made sure to ask about #humanrights & #antisemitism in #Turkey.”
In an interview Tuesday, Cohen said Davutoglu denied both phenomena, saying that Jews still felt comfortable in Turkey. “That was good to hear, but hard to believe,” Cohen told JTA.
Cohen, who has Turkish Jewish ancestry, has been a leading member of a caucus that successive Turkish governments have valued for advancing Turkish interests in Washington.
“I don’t think it hurts among friends – and I consider the Turks friends – to bring up issues of concern,” Cohen said.