Anti-Semitism Burning Bright in Turkey After Israeli Attacks on Gaza (and the Government is Fanning the Flames)

Turkey's prime minister has denounced Israel repeatedly. Screenshot from video uploaded by YouTube user Tamerscadence

Turkey's prime minister has denounced Israel repeatedly. Screenshot from video uploaded by YouTube user Tamerscadence

There has long been considerable sympathy for Palestinians among Turkish people in all walks of life. However, Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza is now being used as a pretext to openly embrace anti-Semitism. The following manifestations of anti-Semitic sentiment occurring in Turkey this week all have a relationship — either direct or indirect — to the Justice and Development (AKP) party headed by Turkish prime minister and vocal Israel critic Recep Erdoğan.

1. On July 17,Bülent Yıldırım, the leader of IHH (Human Relief Foundation), a charity organization that organized the fateful Gaza Freedom Flotilla in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza in 2010, told a pro-government TV channel:

Israel’s spoiled attitude could spell the end for Jewish communities living in Turkey. Otherwise more bad things will happen…

Later that night a group of protesters threw stones at the building housing Israel's consulate in Istanbul and deformed an impressionist statue which has nothing to do with Israel. The police used pepper gas, which is unusual in the context of the government's general approach towards Islamic protesters. 

2. Prominent AKP MP, Şamil Tayyar, added the following tweet to the anti-Semitic mix:

Hope your race disappears under many more new Hitlers.

3. On July 18 Uğur Işılak, a singer whose song is used in the electoral campaigns of Recep Erdoğan's ruling AKP (Justice) party tweeted the following messages:

Your [Israel] tyranny has overshadowed Hitler's. From now on, you are the last country to speak against Hitler.

Allah reminds the tyrant of its end by the hand of tyranny #TerroristIsrael

One should be suspicious of the humanity of anyone that calls this place a country.

4. Finally, on July 19 a crossword in the religiouly conservative, pro-Erdoğan Yeni Akit tabloid appeared to call for the most famous anti-Semite of all to put a stop to the bombardment of Gaza.

Later the same day, when making a public appearance in the Black Sea city of Ordu, Erdoğan echoed Şamil Tayyar's views on similarities between Hitler and the Israeli government — claiming the latter had “surpassed” the former in “barbarism” — but voiced his disapproval towards attacks on Jews living inside Turkey.


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