Mar 15 2019

Erdoğan risks security of Jews in Turkey - Anti-Semite news watchdog blog

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s harsh rebuke of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday has put the security of Turkey’s Jews in danger, said Avlaremoz, an independent blog that follows anti-Semite tendencies in Turkey. 

Erdoğan called Netanyahu “a tyrant massacring Palestinian children” after Netanyahu labelled the Turkish president a “dictator” and “a joke” in the latest exchange of insults between the two leaders.

“Don’t provoke us! We have never persecuted any Jews in this country. Do not provoke us, we will not fall into this trap, but we will call you to account for this in the international community. Nobody can make us forget our cause for Jerusalem,” Erdoğan said.

According to Avlaremoz, Erdoğan’s words implied that Ankara might use the Jews living in Turkey as leverage in its relations with Israel and provoke hostilities inside the country. 

The blog recalled that, during a previous diplomatic row between two countries, some protestors marched to the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul and put on its door a banner saying “a place that should be burnt”. 

Avlaremoz said that such words risked the security of Jews in Turkey, who had nothing to do with Israeli policies. “The Jews living in the Turkish Republic are equal citizens of this country, not some hostages that can be used as leverage for foreign policy purposes,” it said.

Turkey, which had been home to a large Jewish community for centuries, today has a population of around 26,000 Jews with a great majority living in Istanbul.

The Erdoğan years have been a frightening period for Turkish Jews, as the Turkish leader and his top aides have regularly peddled in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, said Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official, in an article he penned for the Washington Examiner last week following Erdoğan’s remarks. 

More Jews have been leaving the country as a result, Rubin said. According to the analyst, every Jew who remains in Turkey, or even visits Turkey as a tourist, now puts their life and freedom in the Turkish government’s hands. 

“The best option for Turkish Jews is to cease denial, overcome inertia, and to leave now, and quickly,” Rubin said.