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March 17, 2023 11:12 am

Turkish Authorities Launch Investigation Following Nazi Salute At High School Soccer Match Involving Jewish Team

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The logo of the Uskudar American Academy in Istanbul. Image: Screenshot

Turkey’s Ministry of National Education has launched an investigation into allegations that members of a Jewish high school soccer team were confronted with Nazi salutes during a match against a local rival earlier this week.

The investigation was launched after Ali Kenanoğlu, a legislator from the People’s Democratic Party in Istanbul, raised the alarm during a session of the Turkish parliament on Thursday, the Jewish news outlet Avlaremoz reported. Kenanoğlu said that at Tuesday evening’s match, students from the Üsküdar American High School delivered a Nazi salute after scoring a goal against Ulus Private Jewish High School. He added that the education ministry now needed to take measures to prevent such incidents from becoming more widespread.

In a statement on Wednesday, the American school — one of the city’s elite academic institutions — said it was offering an apology to the Jewish community.

“We would like to emphasize that we stand against all kinds of discrimination in accordance with our institutional and educational philosophy,” the school said in a statement. “We have urgently contacted the school officials of Ulus Private Jewish High School, conveyed our regrets and initiated the necessary investigation.”

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Antisemitism has frequently reared its head in Turkey, often manifesting through attacks on Israel. Turkey’s Jewish community numbers approximately 25,000 — less than 0.1 percent of the country’s population.

In a separate statement, Turkey’s official Jewish community said it was closely following developments.

“Our school administration and the Turkish Jewish Community presidency are following the issue seriously with the Uskudar American community and its boards of directors,” the statement said. “We have full confidence that they will show the necessary sensitivity and we will continue to share the developments.”

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