Turkish media’s anti-Israel hate speech makes reconciliation calls seem hollow - columnist

Turkey’s media is spreading anti-Jewish hate speech even as the government is reportedly seeking to repair relations with Israel, Jerusalem Post columnist Seth J. Frantzman said in an opinion piece published on Wednesday.

Calls by journalists and columnists to invade or destroy Israel and liberate the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem are becoming increasingly normal in Turkey, he said.

“The increasingly extremist comments on Turkish media and Ankara’s army of social media activists who target any critics online illustrate that the narrative of Turkish “reconciliation” with Israel is largely hollow,” Frantzman said.

Frantzman pointed to the press freedoms record of Turkey, where he said most journalists critical of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been silenced. Extreme nationalist and anti-Jewish views “have become mainstream” among officials of the Turkish government in Ankara, which has seen Israel as its main enemy, he said.

Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and recalled its own envoy in May 2018 over Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza and the United States’ decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Turkey has also fostered relations with Hamas, a group fighting against Israel and designated as a terrorist organisation by the West.

However, there are now reports that Ankara wants to reconcile with Israel and appoint a new ambassador to the country.

Comments by the Turkish media show that the AKP “has embraced a worldview similar to Iran’s regime in how it views Israel as a central enemy and wants to “liberate” Jerusalem”, he said.

“This is in contrast to countries in the region that are embracing new peace deals with Israel and which have toned down this kind of extremist rhetoric.”