Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement regarding comments made by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s statement at a U.N. Alliance of Civilizations conference in Vienna this week equating Zionism with a crime against humanity. The statement follows:

“"It is terribly ironic and offensive that the Prime Minister of Turkey just effectively equated Zionism with racism at a forum organized by the United Nations -- which specifically repealed that bigoted resolution more than two decades ago. The Turkish leader is taking the region back to the ugliness of the past just as Israel was reaching out to improve relations with Ankara.

“I'm pleased that Secretary Kerry objected to Prime Minister Erdogan's statement. It is time that the rest of the international community make clear to the Turkish government that it must end the hate-filled rhetoric toward Israel and halt the dangerous threats of regional escalation."