Erdogan: Crime against humanity
Photo: AP

Turkish Jews urge state to prosecute anti-Semitic acts

Leading Jewish group says media full of anti-Semitic sentiment over Israel's Gaza op

Turkey's main Jewish group urged the state Wednesday to prosecute what it called anti-Semitic acts linked to Israel's offensive in Gaza.


The group Musevi Cemaati, or Jewish Community in Turkish, said that some Turkish "fringe" newspapers and other media were continuing to disseminate anti-Semitic messages, including terms such as "bloody Jews" and criticism of the Torah.  

'Zionist diplomats, leave Turkey' (Photo: AP)


Silvyo Ovadya, the head of Musevi Cemaati, said last week in an interview with Haberturk television that there were several hundred examples of recently published writing with anti-Semitic messages linked to the Gaza war.


"Prosecutors must take legal action against these, but they are not," he said.

Musevi Cemaati said Wednesday that it was aware of only one legal case involving an allegedly anti-Semitic act. In the city of Eskisehir, a lawyer seeks a state investigation into a media photograph that showed men in front of an office with a sign saying: "Dogs are allowed, but Jews and Armenians aren't," the group said.


President Abdullah Gul has urged Turks not to engage in wrongful acts against Jews, who first arrived during the Ottoman Empire five centuries ago. They number 23,000 in a population of more than 70 million.


Emma Sinclair-Webb of New York-based Human Rights Watch said, however, that a law against hate crimes is "rarely used to prosecute statements about minorities which may amount to racist statements, or anti-Semitic statements, or inciting violence."


Instead, she said, the law has been used to protect the interests of Turkish nationalists by prosecuting Kurds, many of whom want more freedom to express their ethnic identity. Since 1984, a conflict between Turkey and Kurdish rebels has killed tens of thousands.


The Turkish Justice Ministry said prosecutors act independently of the government and the prime minister's office said it could not comment.


There has been fury in predominantly Muslim Turkey over casualties among Palestinian civilians during the Gaza war that ended in a Jan. 18 cease-fire. Huge crowds protested against Israel, unsettling Jews who thought some of the public commentary was anti-Semitic.


Last week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan scolded President Shimon Peres during a panel discussion and walked off a stage during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Turkish leader has described anti-Semitism as a "crime against humanity" and said criticism of Israel should not be taken as an attack on Jews and their faith.


פרסום ראשון: 02.04.09, 23:14
 new comment
This will delete your current comment