Turkey to hold International Holocaust Remembrance Day event

Ben Sales

(JTA) — Turkey will commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day even as its president compared Israel’s leaders to Adolf Hitler.

Parliament speaker Cemil Cicek will attend the Jan. 27 ceremony at Bilkent University in Ankara, according to the Times of Israel, citing a Turkish Jewish newspaper. He will be joined by representatives from the United Nations, the university and the Turkish Jewish community.

The first Turkish state ceremony to mark the Holocaust took place in 2011.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized Israel harshly in recent years, even comparing its leadership to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. The Turkish government has denied claims that it is anti-Semitic.

Ties between Turkey and Israel collapsed following the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, when Israeli Navy commandos boarded a ship trying to break the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in the ensuing clash between the commandos and passengers.