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A recent poll found that anti-Semitism has increased in Turkey, a Muslim nation with historically good diplomatic relations with Israel.

Efrat Aviv, a professor at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University who conducted the survey, faulted Mr. Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party for stoking hatred against Jews.

A U.S. Embassy cable released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in 2010 described an Israeli diplomat’s view of Mr. Erdogan. Gabby Levy, Israel’s ambassador to Turkey at the time, told U.S. officials of Mr. Erdogan’s hostility toward the Jewish state.

“‘He’s a [Muslim] fundamentalist. He hates us religiously, and his hatred is spreading,’” Mr. Levy said.

Most recently, Mr. Erdogan turned his fury against a political rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the secular Republican People’s Party.

“Kilicdaroglu is striving every bit he can to raise himself from the level of a black person to the level of a white man,” he said, according to a report in Commentary Magazine, which spotted the comment in a Turkish publication.

Mr. Kilicdaroglu has a mysterious ethnic background. Some say he is Kurdish, and he has traced his heritage to a Turkmen tribe. But he has no African heritage.

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at or @EmbassyRow.