(English) Jewish singer to represent Turkey in song contest

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(English) Turkish Hitler ad pulled after Jewish protests

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(English) Turkey Threatens to Attack Israel; Media Stays Mum

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(English) Zero Jews, one synagogue. Turkey to restore old shul

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(English) American Anthropologist Portrays Jews in Turkey

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بعد أن كان كنيسهم ممتلئ في الأفراح و الأتراح، ١٧ هو عدد اليهود المتبقيين في أنطاكية

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مترجم | جيمنا

١٧ يهودي … عدد اليهود المتبقيين في أنطاكية التركية من بين جالية يهودية عمرها ٢٣٠٠ سنة

 

 منذ أربعين سنة مضت كان هناك بضعة مئات من اليهود متمركزين في أنطاكيا التركية و ما حولها أصغر المتبقيين منهم اليوم يبلغ عمره ٦٠ عام .

مازال سول كانيودياوغلو يتذكر منظر كنيسه و هو يعج بالمصلين , يتذكر كيف كان حتى المسيحيين و المسلمين من أبناء المنطقة يترددون على هذا الكنيس للمشاركة في احتفالات الزواج و الولادة .

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يقول سول , "جل ما يخيفني هو أنه بعد ١٥ أو ٢٠ سنة كيف سيتسائل أهالي أنطالكيا ، هل عرفتم أنه كان هناك يهود أتراك عاشوا هنا "

أنطاكيا التي تبعد حوالي ال٢٠ ميلا ً من الحدود السورية و التي تعرف بجمال طبيعتها و لذة فاكهتها ، تأثر بالحرب الدائرة في سوريا حيث ازداد عدد سكانها بشكل كبير نتيجة نزوح حوال ال٣٠ ألف سوري اليها ، اضافة الى تحولها لنقطة عبور للجهاديين الساعين للقتال في سوريا .

لم تكن الحرب السورية رغم كل تأثيرها عى تركيا السبب في نزوح ما تبقى من اليهود منها بل تعود الحكاية للعام ١٩٧٠ عندما ضربت موجة من العنف السياسي تركيا ، خالقة الجو المناسب لمحاربة الأقليات كاليهود و طردهم من المنطقة.

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هرب الالاف من يهود تركيا حينها الى العاصمة الاقتصادية و الثقافية لتركيا "استنبول"  أو لدول أخرى هرباً من العنف المتنامي ضد الأقليات و بحثاً عن حياة أفضل ، و منذ ذلك الحين لم يتجمع يهود أنطاكيا فيها مرة أخرى أبداً .

اليوم لم يتبقى في تركيا سوى ١٧ يهودي ، يبلغ عمر أصغرهم ٦٠ عام .

قابلت كونديواغلو  ، الرجل ذو ال٧٥ عاماً  عند مدخل كنيس المدينة الوحيدة .

باب الكنيس يطل على حديقة خلفية صغيرة مرصوفة بجحارة سوداء و بضعة أشجار متفرقة. بينما كنا نتحدث أنا و سول ، أطل جار الكنيس المسلم من الباب و دعانا لشرب شاي تركي

.أخبرني سول : " كل سكان المنطقة مضيافين و يدعمونا "

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مترجم | جيمنا ١٧ يهودي … عدد اليهود المتبقيين في أنطاكية التركية من بين جالية يهودية عمرها ٢٣٠٠ سنة    منذ أربعين سنة مضت كان هناك بضعة مئات من اليهود متمركزين في أنطاكيا التركية و ما حولها أصغر المتبقيين منهم اليوم يبلغ عمره ٦٠ عام . مازال سول كانيودياوغلو يتذكر منظر كنيسه و هو يعج بالمصلين […]

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Turkish PM: Jews Are Under My Protection

Posted on Arutz Sheva 6/24/12 By: Rachel Hirshfeld Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to reassure the country’s Jewish community, saying that he will ensure its safety, Anatolia news agency reported. Two American-Jewish men reportedly approached the Turkish PM while he was attending the Rio 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to ask him "to protect" Jewish people living in Turkey. "Under my leadership, the Jewish community in Turkey is safe," Erdogan said. "They are under my protection. We see [Jewish people] as brothers." "We have no problem with the Israeli people," Erdogan said in response to a question. "Our problem is the aggressive behavior of the Israeli government. We have to find solutions to problems in the Middle East. The Israelis have to treat the Palestinians better." The Algemeiner identified the men as brothers Avraham and Yirmi Berkowitz, rabbis of Chabad Lubavitch. “It was a chance meeting,” they said, adding, “we mentioned the ancient and prestigious history of Jews in Turkey, which the Prime Minister acknowledged.” “Erdogan also mentioned Chief Rabbi Rabbi Yitzchak Haleva by name, saying that he ‘is like a brother to me,’” they said. The rabbis told the paper that they responded by saying, “that the people of Israel don’t want to kill anyone, we love life and hate death, but the State of Israel needs to be able to defend itself and needs to have secure borders.” Read More...%d/%m/%Y لا تعليقات

Arutz Sheva 6/24/12 By: Rachel Hirshfeld Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to reassure the country’s Jewish community, saying that he will ensure its safety, Anatolia news agency reported. Two American-Jewish men reportedly approached the Turkish PM while he was attending the Rio 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to ask him […]

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Turkey’s model minority

Posted on The Canadian Jewish News 6/5/12 By: Sheldon Kirshner A valued and protected model minority during the Ottoman Empire and nfull citizens since the formation of a secular republic in 1923, the Jews of Turkey have enjoyed equality and respect, but have had to cope with periodic outbursts of xenophobia and racism. Turkey, a pro-western state of 75 million inhabitants with the second-largest Jewish community in the Muslim world after that of Iran, treasures its centuries-long bond with Jews. As Turkish diplomat Ertan Tezgor said, “We have quite tight relations with the Jewish people.” Judging by the historic record, Jews have fared far better in Turkey than Armenians or Greeks, whose grievances can fill a book. The Jewish presence in Turkey can be traced back to antiquity, to the Roman and Byzantine empires, when Greek-speaking Romaniote Jews settled in Anatolia, Turkey’s heartland, and were eventually absorbed by Sephardi Jews, who reached Ottoman lands from Spain under duress in the 15th century. Invited to the Ottoman Empire by the sultan, Mehmet II, Jews repaid the favour by being exceedingly loyal and productive citizens. Like all minorities, they lived within the framework of the millet system, which organized non-Muslim communities on the basis of religion. With the breakup of the remaining segments of the Ottoman Empire, a cosmopolitan domain that reached deep into the Middle East and the Balkans, the number of Jews declined precipitously, from several hundred thousand in the 19th century to 80,000 by the conclusion of Turkey’s war of national independence, which resulted in a Muslim/Christian population exchange. In modern Turkey, founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered father of the nation, minorities, especially Greek and Armenian Christians, were subjected to assimilationist policies and discrimination until the 1950s, according to Istanbul historian Rifat Bali. In Eastern Thrace, Turkey’s gateway to Europe, several thousand Jews in towns such as Edirne and Canakkale were forcibly expelled in 1934 in a campaign of physical violence, psychological intimidation and economic boycotts. The expulsions finally stopped when the central government intervened and allowed Jews to return to their homes. “It’s not clear who was behind all this,” said Bali. But right-wing nationalists sympathetic to Nazi racial doctrines may have been among the perpetrators. In 1942, the Turkish government imposed a crippling wealth tax (Varlik vergisi) on well-off citizens. Historians generally regard the punitive tax, most keenly felt by Jews and Christians, as an attempt by the government to stop war profiteering and to transfer wealth to the Sunni majority. Bali describes the tax, revoked in 1944, as a discriminatory and arbitrary measure that blatantly violated the 1924 constitution. In his view, the tax sent an unmistakable signal to minorities that they had no future in Turkey. In 1955, following reports that Ataturk’s ancestral home in Salonika had been destroyed, anti-Greek riots erupted in the centre of Istanbul, resulting in the destruction of numerous shops and homes. Jews and Armenians were caught in the backwash of this pogrom. Five decades on, Turkey has matured and now has “a positive attitude to minorities,” said Bali. But due to the events of 1934, 1942 and 1955, the pull of Israel after 1948 and an outbreak of terrorism in the 1970s, Turkey’s Jewish community has declined numerically. About 18,000 Jews, all but 400 of whom are Sephardi Jews, reside in Turkey today. Emigration is still a factor, with upwards of 150 Jews making aliyah every year. By one estimate, there are 100,000 Jews of Turkish origin in Israel. By all accounts, the 1986 and 2003 bombings of Neve Shalom, the biggest synagogue in Istanbul, did not cause a significant exodus of Jews. The attacks, which were respectively perpetrated by Arab and Turkish terrorists, claimed the lives of more than 40 Jews and Muslims. Turkish Jews are largely concentrated in Istanbul, with much smaller centres in Izmir, Bursa and Ankara. They possess an impressive range of institutions, synagogues and schools, but these facilities are increasingly difficult to maintain. Demographic realities, notably an intermarriage rate ranging in the vicinity of 25 per cent and an aging population in which deaths outnumber births, are key problems in the community, said Izak Kolman, an advisor to Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva. He and others believe that Jewish population stability will be assured by Turkey’s vibrant economy and by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to bring in a new constitution enshrining human rights. By local standards, Turkish Jews are fairly prosperous, being active in business (particularly in the textile trade) and the professions. Yet 200 families in Istanbul require food aid per month. Traditionally, the civil service and the armed forces have been informally off-limits to Jews and Christians. However, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu recently declared that Jews should be members of the diplomatic corps. Whether the new policy is merely tokenism remains to be seen. Jewish leaders here claim that antisemitism does not pose a problem in daily life. But since most Muslim Turks have never met a Jew, “you have fear and negative feelings,” noted Sami Herman, the community’s president. Antisemitic material is published in the ultra-nationalist and Islamic press, Bali observed. “But the sentiments they express reflect opinion in the street, and are not held by Turkish elites.” Although Jews are well integrated into Turkish society, ethnocentric Turks claim that only Muslims are real Turks, and that Jews are foreigners (yabancis). The Mavi Marmara incident of May 2010, during which Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish ship trying to break Israel’s naval siege of the Gaza Strip, may have contributed to the erroneous belief that Jews are faux Turks. “Jews feared that their loyalty to Turkey would be questioned,” said Bali. “But no one questioned their loyalty.” By way of response, the Jewish community immediately issued an official statement expressing sadness and sorrow over the loss of life. Much to its relief, Erdogan issued a warning that anti-Israel feelings should not be allowed to spill over into antisemitism. “We felt a little stressed, but there has not been a long-term impact on our community,” said Herman, observing that the Mavi Marmara affair only affected Turkey’s bilateral relations with Israel. Although Turkish Jews tend to be pro-Israel, citing historical and cultural affinities with Israel, they tread carefully in public discussions about Zionism. “We’re not Zionists,” declared Herman. “Not at all. But for sure Israel is very important for Jews.” Herman’s colleague, Adil Anjel, put it more starkly: “In Turkey, Zionism is a bad word, like saying you’re a racist.” He added, “We are Turkish Jews who feel sympathetic toward Israel.” Read More...%d/%m/%Y لا تعليقات

The Canadian Jewish News 6/5/12 By: Sheldon Kirshner A valued and protected model minority during the Ottoman Empire and nfull citizens since the formation of a secular republic in 1923, the Jews of Turkey have enjoyed equality and respect, but have had to cope with periodic outbursts of xenophobia and racism. Turkey, a pro-western state […]

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Turkey’s Jewish Community: Future Unknown

Posted on Arutz Sheva 3/16/12 By: Manfred Gerstenfeld The Jewish community in Turkey is one of the few surviving ones in a Muslim country. Its numbers have however, dwindled greatly. In 1927, the Turkish Republic conducted its first general census which found that there were 81,872 Jews. After Israel’s independence in 1948, about half of Turkey’s Jews left for Israel. In following years, emigration continued parallel to political and economic turbulences. The present number of Jews is somewhere between 16,000 and 20,000.” “In recent years, the Jewish community has become the target of much hostility and verbal abuse by the country’s Islamic and ultra-nationalist sectors. Zionism and Israel are publicly demonized and this sentiment often crosses the line into anti-Semitism. It is unthinkable that any Turkish Jew would make pro-Israel statements openly to correct all the misinformation and disinformation concerning Israel and Zionism.” Rifat N. Bali is an independent scholar. He is a Research Fellow of the Alberto Benveniste Center for Sephardic Studies and Culture in Paris. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of Turkish Jewry. “On 31 May 2010, the Israeli Defense Forces stopped the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship of the flotilla of the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief (IHH). In the ensuing fight, eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed. “This became a critical moment for the Jewish community. The Turkish public perceived the incident as the murder of Muslim Turks by the Jewish army. A new wave of anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories appeared in the Turkish media and were supported by public figures. One conspiracy theory was that Israel was behind the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) attack on a Turkish military base which occurred a few hours after the IDF intervention on the Mavi Marmara. “It came as no surprise that the Turkish media would ask Jewish leaders to declare which side they were on. The Chief Rabbinate responded a few hours after the incident saying, ‘We are distressed to learn of the military intervention carried out against the ship Mavi Marmara, which was heading toward Gaza. The fact that, according to the first reports we have received, there have been dead and wounded in the intervention, has increased our sorrow all the more. We fully share our country’s reaction generated by the stopping of the aforementioned [relief] effort in this manner and our sorrow is the same as that of the general public.’ “Besides this declaration, the Jewish community tried to keep as low a profile as possible. This void was filled by two Turkish Jewish public figures. Mario Levi is a well-known novelist. He told the Italian daily ‘La Repubblica’ that, ‘As Jews in Istanbul, we are in solidarity with the people in Gaza.’ He added that he did not think there was anti-Semitism in Turkey. “Roni Margulies is a Jewish Trotskyite poet and a columnist at the liberal-leftist daily Taraf. He stated that he approved of the Gaza flotilla, disapproved of Israel’s raid and wished he could have been there. He remarked that ‘For a Jew, Israel is the most dangerous place to live in the world and Israel is a danger to world Jewry.’ Both Levi and Margulies’ statements were well received by the Turkish media. The Mavi Marmara incident has thus shown again, that the Turkish public and media see an anti-Zionist as a good Jew and a pro-Zionist as a bad Jew. “In such an environment, the leadership of the Turkish Jewish community cannot reach out to Turkish society. In order to preserve the identity of the Turkish Jewish youth, Zionism and an attachment to Israel are two main themes taught to them. The Turkish public and media see an anti-Zionist as a good Jew and a pro-Zionist as a bad Jew. Jewish parents however, counsel their children not to display Star of David necklaces in public and to ignore as much as possible the hateful criticism of Israel in the Turkish public sphere. “The Turkish Jewish community has one element of added value for the government. It is expected to help convince American Jewish organizations to use their influence to block the official recognition as genocide by the U.S. Congress of the 1915 murderous deportation by the Ottoman Turks of the Armenians. “In the past decades, there has been increased violence toward the Jewish community. There was an assassination attempt against a Jak V. Kamhi in 1993, the President of the Quincentennial Foundation and a prominent businessman. The Foundation was established in 1989 to celebrate the quincentennial anniversary of the arrival of Sephardi Jews to Ottoman lands. In 1995, there was another attempt against the president of Ankara’s small Jewish community, Professor Yuda Yürüm. An Istanbul dentist, Yasef Yahya was murdered in 2003. Later that year, there were two suicide bomb attacks by radical Islamists against two Istanbul synagogues, Neve Shalom and Beth Israel.” Bali concludes: “The long-term viability of the Turkish Jewish community is doubtful. Its influence in society is negligible. It plays no role in the country’s cultural, political or intellectual life. There is no one in Turkish civil society to respond to the widespread, hostile rhetoric. The Jewish community is therefore totally dependent on the government to protect its members.” Read More... %d/%m/%Y لا تعليقات

Arutz Sheva 3/16/12 By: Manfred Gerstenfeld The Jewish community in Turkey is one of the few surviving ones in a Muslim country. Its numbers have however, dwindled greatly. In 1927, the Turkish Republic conducted its first general census which found that there were 81,872 Jews. After Israel’s independence in 1948, about half of Turkey’s Jews […]

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Turkish Jews Voice Wary Confidence About Future

Posted on The Jewish Daily Forward 9/20/11 By: Ben Hartman ISTANBUL — The diplomatic clash between Israel and Turkey may be escalating, but many within Turkey’s 23,000-strong Jewish population insist that it is nothing more than politics for them, with no practical effect on their lives or security. “In daily life, we don’t fear anything from the Turks,” said Nisya Isman Allovi, manager of the Jewish Museum in Istanbul. But, acknowledging the thick protection her institution and many others in the Jewish community receive, she also said, “Security is, it’s done just to be cautious about everything.” The targeting of the community over the years by terrorists — albeit by non-Turks — explains the blast-proof doors and X-ray machines found at Turkish synagogues, where outsiders can attend services only after making advanced reservations with the rabbinate. It may also explain the guarded manner in which members of the community responded to questions from the press. At services held on September 16 at Sicli synagogue, the city’s busiest, one man complained of Turkish anti-Semitism, only to respond that everything was fine in Turkey once he was informed that he was speaking to a journalist. The same scene played out repeatedly: Someone would express apprehension about Turkish attitudes toward Jews, or express no fear whatsoever, while demanding that his or her name not be printed. One of those Jews, “Haim,” a 76-year-old retiree, said he doesn’t believe that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an anti-Semite or that he will allow any harm to befall Turkey’s Jews. “His problem is only with the Israeli government and not the people,” Haim said. “Erdogan won’t let the Jews be hurt, because we’re his citizens, we pay taxes. He’s said this. He just wants to attract Arab support, Arab business and tourism. I don’t believe he hates Jews. It’s politics only.” Holding a key chain that held a locket with a picture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of Turkey as a modern secular state, and a quarter-sized bronze menorah, Haim said that there was nothing for Jews to fear in regard to anti-Semitism in Turkey, but then he asked that his real name not be used. Haim related that his brother was killed in a 1986 terror attack on Congregation Neve Shalom. Allovi, one of the few Jews willing to speak on the record, said: “The problems between Israel and Turkey are not between the people, they are between the countries. It’s like, if you go to Greece you can drink ouzo and talk to people and be fine, just… don’t talk about politics.” When asked if young Turkish Jews were inclined to leave the country for Israel or North America once they reach adulthood, Allovi, a 32-year-old Istanbul native, said: “The young Jews usually stay. It’s [Turkey] where I was born, the place I feel the most attached to. It’s also my native language and the food, everything. Most of my friends are Muslim, and I feel that I have more similarities with a Turkish Muslim than, say, a French Jew or a Jew from somewhere else just because they’re Jewish. We grow up together, go to the same schools, watch the same soap operas.” The Karakoy neighborhood’s Jewish museum, which Allovi administers, traces a narrative of co-existence from the sheltering of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 through the rule of Ataturk and the founding of the modern Turkish republic. The theme of Turkish tolerance of Jews and Jewish assimilation in Turkey and the Ottoman Empire is highlighted with exhibits that include photos of Jewish soldiers in Ottoman military uniforms, a tallit from 1898 stitched with the crescent and star and a menorah built in the shape of a minaret. Turkey’s Jewish population has been depleted by decades of immigration to Israel and elsewhere. Today, about 90% of Jews in Turkey live in Istanbul. A small community of about 2,300 Jews resides in Izmir. More than 96% of the community is Sephardi, and Ladino is still spoken widely, especially among the older generation. The high security at Jewish sites across the country attests to the caution and trauma that remain from several devastating terrorist attacks over the past three decades. On November 15, 2003, trucks carrying explosives slammed into the Neve Shalom and Beth Israel synagogues during Sabbath services, killing 27 people and wounding hundreds. In a previous attack at the Neve Shalom synagogue, in 1986, men from the Abu Nidal terrorist organization gunned down 22 worshippers on a Sabbath morning. Years later, in 1992, a bomb exploded outside the synagogue, causing no casualties. Taylan Bilgic, a senior editor at the Hurriyet Daily News, the English-language version of the Turkish Daily Hurriyet, spoke of the Palestinian issue as something that stokes strong passions across Turkish society and will continue to be highlighted by players like Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development party and others who want to enhance their support in the country. “On the left and right, [from] Muslims to atheists they all have a connection to the Palestinian cause. It’s beyond ideology,” Bilgic said. “You may have primitive Islamists who are trying to utilize this emotional bond for their own purposes, but what politician wouldn’t?” Bilgic added that he believes that Erdogan and many of his base supporters subscribe to a sort of “primitive anti-Semitism.” It is a sentiment that is not common among Turks generally, he said, but could potentially affect the country’s Jewish community if the tension with Israel worsens. “If the government manages to make its primitive anti-Semitic ideology take root in society, it could spill over on the Jews here, but I don’t think it will. It depends on Israel and what Israel agrees to do about the Palestinians,” he said. Read More...%d/%m/%Y لا تعليقات

The Jewish Daily Forward 9/20/11 By: Ben Hartman ISTANBUL — The diplomatic clash between Israel and Turkey may be escalating, but many within Turkey’s 23,000-strong Jewish population insist that it is nothing more than politics for them, with no practical effect on their lives or security. “In daily life, we don’t fear anything from the […]

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