Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Turkish Jews Express Fear Amid Reports That Intelligence Service Spied On Their Community

December 19, 2012 5:21 pm 9 comments

Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: wiki commons.

The relationship between the 30,000 or so Jews living in Turkey and the rest of the Turkish population has become tense ever since the  relationship between Israel and Turkey began to deteriorate shortly after the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010.  Anti-Israel sentiment is high in the country, and anti-Semitism has also been on the rise at the encouragement of Turkey’s Islamist government. A report in Al-Monitor quotes several Jews who fear a backlash against their community.

“As a Jew, I can attest to you there is a difference between being a Turk and an Israeli,” Ediz said. “But whenever there is fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, the atmosphere in Turkey turns against us, and people start acting as if we committed a crime.”

Leri, another Turkish Jew, told Al-Monitor that the media is also to blame. “The media is painting such an image that many won’t even consider us human.”

According to the Al-Monitor article, the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul that tried Israeli soldiers in-absentia for their role in the Mavi Marmara incident asked the Turkish National Intelligence Service (MIT) for a listing of Turkish Jews who traveled to Israel two weeks before and after it occurred. These people were put under surveillance. There are also allegations that  the MIT identified five Jews in Turkey as suspicious, and that they expanded surveillance in Istanbul and Izmir — where the majority of the country’s Jewish population lives.

While Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has made appeals to Turkey’s Jewish population to help mend the relationship with Israel, there’s a sense among Jews in Turkey that he has put them in a difficult and compromising position.

Rafael Sadi, a member of Israel’s Turkish community, as well as a childhood friend of Erdogan, questions the Turkish President’s motives: “If he really believes that Turkey’s Jews had so much influence [over politicians], why didn’t he listen to our warnings before the Mavi Marmara set sail toward Gaza? Why did he make such a special effort to sever the ties between Israel and Turkey? The Turkish Red Crescent was then delivering the humanitarian aid to Gaza and it still does. If the issue is the lifting of the Gaza blockade, then he should have found a way to control and prevent the free flow of arms into Gaza.”

Zali De Toledo, chairman of the Association of Turkish Jews in Israel, told Al-Monitor she strongly agrees, and argues that the Erdogan government intentionally took steps to harm the relationship with Israel. “It’s Erdogan who really needs to apologize to us for breaking the long-lasting friendship between our two countries.”

9 Comments

  • B’SD
    Did you know which Jewish Establshment leader honored Erdogan arta recent dinner and gave him an award ?
    Dishonest Abe Foxman of the ADL To see this and more go to the Jewish Defense Organization website http://www.jewishdefense.org .

  • MILINDA RATNASURIYA

    THEY SHOULD HAVE SETTLED IN ISRAEL A LONG TIME AGO !!!

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Of course they have. Turkish Jews have maybe 5 years left to live as citizens in Turkey. Dhimmitude awaits. Or worse. Typically they start with mysterious claims of “Jewish spies”. Then, well you know how it goes. Erdogan will likely make an official White House visit and present Obama with stolen Jewish artwork.

  • Erdogan is the most dangerous head of state in the region bar none.

  • As in France today I don’t see much of a future for the Jewish community whilst the Muslims in that country, are free to roam around at will attacking Jews, so I also don’t see much of a future for the remaining Jewish community in Turkey while an Islamist government is in office.
    I see a bleak future for most of the Jewish communities in Europe today, which is reminiscent of the beginning of the Nazi era in the Germany of 1933.
    Only when the West get their act together in coming down hard on Muslim Jew-hating Fanatics, will World jewry once again be safe.

  • Complacency is dangerous. My parents were very close friends with a German Jewish couple; the husband was a physician. The families understood one another. The couple and their young daughter had left Germany in 1937 while their relatives who remained all died in concentration camps. My great-grandfather was on especially good terms with the Turkish Sultan, as his cousin was the Ottoman Finance Minister. They thought that because of their prominence, they would be safe. The tide turned quickly. Our family was hunted down like stray dogs and killed. My grandmother and her two infants were in Europe on vacation, so they were spared.

  • Why in the world do they continue to live there?? Gee…it isn’t as if they have to cross an ocean to get here!

  • Correction: Erdogan is Turkey’s prime minister, not president.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Theater US & Canada Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Famed actor Seth Rogen on Tuesday unveiled with typical comic fanfare the trailer for his new Christmas film. The movie “was made by Jews… and opens on Thanksgiving,” Rogen pointed out on Twitter. The Night Before tells the tale of three “ride or die homies” celebrating one last debauchery-filled Christmas Eve reunion before they become too busy to keep up their annual tradition. In an effort to make the night as memorable as possible, they set out to find the “Nutcracka Ball – the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    A June 2015 art exhibit, “The Transformative Power of Art,” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, harnessed the universal language of art to convey an important message: “Our fragile Mother Earth faces the devastating consequences of climate change, a defining challenge of our time.” The exhibit also included sixteen portraits of people from all over the world who have “contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday. Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    A new documentary explores the lives and work of Jewish and Arab rappers in Israel and how the ongoing conflict in the region has impacted their lyrics, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. Hip Hop in the Holy Land is a six-part series co-directed by Mike Skinner, the British frontman of hip-hop group The Streets, and produced by Noisey, a music channel published by Vice news. The first episode, published last week, shows Skinner meeting with Tamer Nafar, the founder of one of […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada 49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    New 49ers running back and Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne apologized on Wednesday for a tweet in which he raised the age-old myth that Jews were historically responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. Reaching out to his Jewish fans, and the chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Hayne tweeted: “To the Jewish community @DvirAbramovich #WeAreAllOne.” Underneath, he keenly included a screenshot of a text message to elaborate on his apology: “I sincerely apologize for my tweets on July 1. I […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot reminisced about her childhood in Israel during an interview published in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. “I don’t remember this, but my mom told me that when I was three they threw a party on the rooftop of the house. They put me to bed, and I heard people coming into the house and no one came to me. I went to the rooftop and took a hose and I started to spray water on everyone, just […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    An Israeli organization is helping wounded U.S. veterans move past their physical and psychological challenges by connecting them with injured Israeli soldiers who understand what they’ve been through. “What we discovered very early is that there’s no ‘professional, psychiatrist, social worker’ or anything like that [or] pills that can come even close to helping a soldier who fought in combat, who was wounded, who lost his friends. No one can help him like another person who’s been through exactly what he has,” Rabbi Chaim Levine, […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships World Researchers Say Women Less Likely Than Men to Kill Hitler, if They Could Travel Back in Time

    Researchers Say Women Less Likely Than Men to Kill Hitler, if They Could Travel Back in Time

    Women are less likely than men to want to kill Nazi leader Adolph Hitler if given the ability to travel back in time, a recently published research paper revealed. The paper analyzed 40 studies involving 6,100 respondents in a time-travel thought experiment, the New York Post reported on Friday. While 60 percent of men said they would theoretically be willing to kill Hitler, only 55 percent of women said they would be comfortable doing the same. The paper was published in the Personality and […]

    Read more →