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September 28, 2014 7:27 pm

Turkey Surpasses Iran in Anti-Semitism, Opposition Lawmaker Charges

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Aykan Erdemir. Photo: CHP

Aykan Erdemir. Photo: CHP

A senior opposition lawmaker in Turkey has charged that his country’s record of hostility to its Jewish citizens is worse than that of Iran, according to a report appearing in the local Hurriyet daily.

“Our Jewish citizens are unfortunately entering the New Year in an environment where anti-Semitism, discrimination, hate crimes and hate speeches are on the rise,” Aykan Erdemir, a Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy for Bursa said at a press conference on Thursday, in honor of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Erdemir noted that “A study carried out by the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] in 102 countries and with the participation of 53,100 persons revealed that Turkey ranks 17th in an index of countries harboring anti-Semitic attitudes.”

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He pointed to the statistics that showed that “69 percent of Turkish people harbored anti-Semitic attitudes, much higher than the global average of 26 percent. The fact that Turkey’s average is higher than Iran, 56 percent of whose population has anti-Semitic attitudes, is a warning.”

Additionally, Erdemir said that “There is a rise in anti-Semitism in a country where the state and the government remain indifferent and insensitive toward anti-Semitic hate crimes,” and added that, “despite this environment, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan still argues that there is ‘no anti-Semitism in Turkey.'”

However, in June, Erdoğan loudly compared Israel’s actions in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge to Nazi Germany, and even charged that Israel’s policies in the coastal enclave had “surpassed what Hitler did.”

While Israel has avoided criticizing Turkey and had hoped to renew rocky ties in the four years since the infamous Gaza flotilla debacle, of late, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government is emphasizing Ankara’s ties to terrorist activities in the Middle East – including support for Hamas.

On September 15th, prior to Rosh Hashana and the upcoming Yom Kippur Day of Atonement fast, and Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles) Israeli security officials issued a severe terror alert for citizens warning of potential “attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world,” especially in Western Europe, including Turkey, “by global jihad elements (including ISIS), and specifically by fighters returning home from Syria and Iraq.”

A Turkish pundit writing for Yeni Akit, a publication aligned with Erdoğan, recently called for the country’s Jews to be taxed to pay for reconstructing buildings damaged in Gaza during the fighting.

Faruk Köse said that the “Gaza Fund Contribution Tax” should apply to Turkish Jews as well as foreign Jews doing business in Turkey and any Turkish nationals with commercial ties to the Jewish state.

The columnist even said the tax should apply to any company or business that maintains a partnership with a Turkish Jew.

“The reconstruction of Gaza will be paid for by Jewish businessmen,” he said.

The penalty for failing to pay the tax should be the revocation of the Jew’s business licence and the seizure of his property, Köse said.

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