Friday, February 06, 2009

Turkish Jews want state to prosecute antisemitism

Turkey's main Jewish community urged the state Wednesday to prosecute what it called anti-Semitic acts linked to Israel's offensive in Gaza, AP reports via Ynet News.

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.

Read article in full

1 comment:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Note the ignorance of the AP reporterd who wrote that Jews "first arrived in the Ottoman Empire" 500 years ago. Actually, Jews were there long before the Turks. The AP should be asked to make a formal correction for such gross ignorance.