Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Turkey and Israel 'natural allies', say Turkish Jews

There is a large society of people in Israel who dance to Turkish music, enjoy the taste of Turkish food and communicate between themselves in Turkish as much as they do in Hebrew. They are members of the Turkish Israeli community, the people who migrated to Israel from Turkey and who define themselves as Turkish Jews, reports Turkish Daily News. (With thanks: Albert)

"They do not want to talk politics, at least until they have established trust that their names will not be revealed. "We don't want to be troublemakers. On the contrary, we want to be living bridges between our two homelands; Turkey and Israel. We are Israelis as much as we are Turks," one senior member of the community said. Now in his early 80s, he spent almost half his life in Turkey and stressed that at times of tension in bilateral relations between the two countries the community feels distressed but remains confident that "whatever misunderstanding might lead to such an unfortunate [lessening of] ties will soon be eradicated and mutual confidence will be re-established between our two countries which, because of the political geography of the region, the values they share and the strong bonds of friendship derived from a rich common past, are destined to be natural allies."

"Still, they complain of hypocrisy on the part of the Turkish media and by some leading politicians of the country in their approach towards the "human suffering" of the Arab-Israeli conflict."

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