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March 12, 2018 5:12 pm

Head of Turkish Taxi Drivers’ Union Claims ‘Thieving Jewish Lobby’ Responsible for Spread of Uber

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A protest against Uber (illustrative). Photo: Elekes Andor via Wikimedia Commons.

The head of the Turkish taxi drivers’ union went on an antisemitic tirade on Monday, asserting Jews were behind the spread of Uber in the country.

The Istanbul Taxi Drivers Tradesmen’s Association (İTEO) is currently involved in a bitter dispute with Uber, which it claims is stealing business from legitimate taxi services. The group wants Uber banned in Turkey.

The dispute has been marked by acts of violence. The Turkish news site Daily Sabah reported that over the past week, an Uber driver was attacked by a group of taxi drivers, while another was shot at.

According to Turkish-Jewish newspaper Şalom, at a rally outside Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse, where a lawsuit against Uber was pending, İTEO President Eyüp Aksu shouted, “The thieving global Jewish lobby serves taxi piracy in Turkey.”

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Professor Louis Fishman, a Turkey expert at Brooklyn College, told the Algemeiner that Aksu’s comments are “an unfortunate case in a country where such language has become the norm. So, no surprise it was said.”

According to Hurriyet Daily News, a 2017 study found that Jews were the number one target of hate speech in the Turkish media.

The paper reported, “Tension over the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem prompted a number of media outlets to demonize Jews as a collective group, with the term ‘Jews’ often being used in place of ‘Israeli state,’ ‘Israel,’ or ‘Israeli Defense Forces.’”

In addition, Jews were “presented as a ‘secret power’ and ‘threats against Turkey’ in many conspiracy theories reflected in the Turkish media.”

The paper added, “Many reports and columns referred to Jewishness as an insult, with Jewish identity ‘attributed to many institutions and individuals in a negative context.’”

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