Feature

Israel: Weren’t the Turks our friends?

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Turkey.

Deborah Danan
The Jerusalem Post

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Turkey, said Deborah Danan. A recent survey of 1,000 Turkish local and national newspapers found that the Jews were by far the most vilified of 21 groups targeted for hate speech, receiving fully one quarter of all the vitriol. It wasn’t always this way. Before the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party came to power, Turkey was a staunch friend of Israel, and “anti-Semitism was very much a fringe issue within Turkish society.” But Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan—known for once saying that “today, the image of the Jews is no different than that of the Nazis”—has brought a very different tone to his office. Just last week, he called Zionism “a crime against humanity.” So perhaps it’s not surprising that under his tenure, Jews have overtaken Armenians as the most hated group in the country. It’s ironic, of course, that Erdogan bases his distaste for Jews on what he calls Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians, since he still denies Turkey’s actual, documented genocide against the Armenians during World War I. “Who’s going to take Erdogan on and expose him for the bullying humbug that he is?”

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