ESKISEHIR, Turkey (DPA)–The head of a Turkish nationalist group could face up to a year in jail after being charged over a placard he put in his office barring Jews and Armenia’s from entering, the Dogan news agency reported this week.
"No Jews or Armenia’s are allowed through this door. Dogs are free to enter," read the sign that Niyazi Capa, general manager of the Osman Gazi Culture Federation, placed in the window of his office of the central Anatolian city of Eskisehir in January just after the Israeli military began it’s three-week operation in Gaza.
Prosecutors have now charged Capa with "discrimination on the basic of race or religion", a crime punishable by between six months and one year imprisonment.
Dogan said that Capa had denied the charges, telling prosecutors investigating the case that he was not a racist and that he had no problem with Armenian or Jewish people.
Capa’s alleged action in January coincided with large-scale protests across Turkey condemning the Israeli military operations in Gaza. Whilst Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a number of extremely critical speeches condemning Israel’s actions, including describing it as a "stain on history’s page", he specifically condemned the actions of Capa, describing anti-Semitism as a "crime against humanity".
Capa said that the sign’s reference to Armenia’s was in response to a recent campaign by Turkish intellectuals to apologize for what they called the "Great Catastrophe of 1915." Capa defended his sign saying it was similar to one posted at the door of a concert in France by the American rock band "System of a Down". Members of the band have in the past denied ever having posted such a sign.