ADL ‘Alarmed’ at Increasing Hostility Toward Jews in Turkey

Demonstrators throw stones at the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, as they protest against Israel's military action in Gaza. July 18, 2014. (Photo: AFP)

NEW YORK—The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) earlier this month expressed alarm at the increasingly hostile environment toward Israel in Turkey, which with the recent intensification of the conflict between Israel and Hamas is extending to the Turkish Jewish community, and called on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reject this targeting and publicly assert that the Jewish community has the full support and protection of the state.

Turkey’s leaders, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have harshly criticized Israel and Israeli leaders in recent days with Hitler comparisons. Several anti-Israel protests have turned violent. Last Thursday night, demonstrators waving pro-Palestinian flags and banners in Ankara and Istanbul hurled rocks and screamed anti-Semitic and anti-Israel epithets outside of the Israeli diplomatic offices. Hundreds of protestors reportedly attacked the Israeli consulate in Istanbul.

Recent articles in the Turkish media have blamed Turkey’s Jews for the situation in Gaza.

“We are alarmed by the growing hostility toward Israel in Turkey, which is increasingly being directed at the Jewish community,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Targeting Turkey’s Jews for the policies and actions of Israel is anti-Semitism.”

ADL noted that in the past, Prime Minister Erdogan has made public statements in support of the Turkish Jewish community. “He needs to do so again before the situation gets worse,” Foxman said. “Now is the time for the prime minister to speak out again and reject those who target Turkey’s Jews. He needs to assure this increasingly vulnerable community that it has the full support and protection of the state.”

Turkey’s Jewish community of approximately 17,000 people has been a vibrant part of Turkey’s social fabric for more than 500 years.

On Wednesday, a pro-government newspaper, the daily Yeni Akit, published an open letter by Faruk Köse to Turkey’s chief rabbi, calling on the Jewish community to apologize for Israel’s actions in Gaza.

“You came here after being banished from Spain,” Köse wrote in the paper, which is affiliated with Erdogan. “You have lived comfortably among us for 500 years and gotten rich at our expense. Is this your gratitude – killing Muslims? Erdogan, demand that the community leader apologize!”

In the same newspaper, an editorial highlighted the victims in Gaza and suggested that Turkey’s Jews should condemn Israel’s actions. “While all this is happening, the journal of the Jewish community in Turkey, ‘Shalom,’ is referring to the murder of children in Gaza as ‘taking care of terrorists.’”

ADL’s recent Global 100 survey of anti-Semitism found that 69 percent of those surveyed in Turkey agreed with a series of long-held anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews.


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  1. Koh said:

    “Turkey’s Jewish community of approximately 17,000 people has been a vibrant part of Turkey’s social fabric for more than 500 years.”

    Yes, very vibrant. A little too vibrant: “The Jews in Haskoy (a jewish quarter in Constantinople where many Armenians also lived) played a shameful part in helping the Kurds to search out the hiding places of the victims…Many Jews joined with Mohammedans to strike against the Armenians and “pursued them to the end”.–Yair Auron

  2. GeorgeMardig said:

    NO body buys the fake animosity between Turkey and Israel

  3. Dr.Hermon Mihranian said:

    What Israel is doing in Gaza is a crime against humanity. Israel must be punished for it’s terrorist attacks.

  4. kira_9 said:

    While, I know that this rift between Turkey and Israel is for show only, it will nonetheless piss off Zionists. Along with Turkish denialist, the Zionists are a cancer in this world. All paid and provided by Uncle Sam.

  5. kira_9 said:

    Israel is nothing more than a US military outpost in the ME. With the over $1bn of US military stockpile within Israel, proof is in the pudding. As for Turkey with its fake crocodile tears over the inhumane slaughter of the poor, poor Palestinians, does nothing to stop Israel because it is its partner. Erdogan is full of hot air.