January 16, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 5935

Antisemitism In Turkish Media, Government, Mosques Continues To Rise; Turkish Governor Announces: 'With Great Hatred In My Heart,' The Grand Synagogue Now Undergoing Restoration Will Not Reopen For Worship But 'Will Become Only A Museum, Wi

January 16, 2015
Turkey, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 5935

As the MEMRI Turkish Media Project has shown (see Antisemitism Hits New High In Turkey: Threats Against Turkish Jews, Expressions Of Admiration For Hitler, Calls For Jews To Be Sent To Concentration Camps; Jews Should Pay A 'Special Tax') antisemitism continues to rise in Turkey, led by ruling AKP party and government officials. In a Friday sermon, an imam stated that, according to Allah, "the most rabid and savage enemies of Islam on earth are the Jews"; an AKP MP called the sermon a "magnificent speech" and promoted it on his Facebook page. Additionally, the governor of Edirne province, once a center of Turkish Jewish life, decreed, "with great hatred in my heart," that the province's Grand Synagogue, which is currently undergoing restoration, would not, as planned, be open to Jews as a house of worship, but would instead become "a museum with no exhibits."

The following are examples of recent antisemitic expression in Turkey, as well as some reactions to them:

Report On Hate Speech in Turkish Media: Islamist Daily Yeni Akit Leads - With Jews No. 1 Target

According to a report published December 20, 2014 by the Hrant Dink Foundation, which is named for the Turkish Armenian journalist murdered in 2007, the pro-AKP Islamist daily Yeni Akit, heads the list of media publishing hateful rhetoric. According to the study, Jews are the No. 1 target of such hate speech, followed by Armenians and Christians. The second-worst offender is another Islamist daily, Milli Gazete.[1]

Graphs: On left, "Hate Speech In Turkish Media"; on right, "Targeted Groups," showing Jews in first place, followed by Armenians and Christians. Source: Diken (Turkey), December 30, 2014

Imam In Friday Sermon: "Allah Says" That "The Most Rabid And Savage Enemies Of Islam On Earth Are The Jews"; AKP MP Calls Sermon "Magnificent," Posts It On His Facebook Page

On November 29, 2014, OdaTV reported on a July 2014 Friday sermon at Ulu Mosqe in Diyarbakir, in which Imam Mehmet Sait Yaz said:[2] "The most rabid and savage enemies of Islam on Earth are the Jews. Who says this? Allah says this. The Jews and the Christians will never accept you unless you submit to their religion. These Jews spoil all the agreements on earth and have murdered 17 of their own prophets...

"Gaza is the [battle]front of the entire Islamic world. If Gaza falls, both Mecca and Medina will also fall. They [in Gaza] are becoming martyrs for us. Palestinians are the sacrifices for our religion [Islam]. Look [at] those who advocate for human rights, that vile Europe, the so-called role model for us, that teaches us their so-called European civilization, that savage civilization... Mosques [in Gaza] are being destroyed, temples, minarets are destroyed.

"We [Muslims] believe in a book [i.e. the Koran], we belong to a religion [i.e. Islam] that command us as Muslims never to kill innocent people. We cannot kill even a Jew who is innocent. Or a Christian who is innocent. But their so-called religious leaders say to the media that all Palestinians must be killed, that all Palestinian mothers should be killed. [They say that] mothers should not give birth to children, because they will become the soldiers of Allah's Messenger [Muhammad].

"And I declare here: All Jews who have taken up arms to murder Muslims must be killed, and Israel must be wiped off the map! And it will be wiped out with Allah's help! Do not fret, this is good news, Oh [Allah] the merciful, help the Palestinians! With your pure name, open the way to crushing Israel, oh Allah! Help Muslim hands to destroy them, oh Lord! Give us the good news of Al-Aqsa's liberation, oh Allah! Tell us that new Saladins are on their way, and make them strong, oh Allah!"

The sermon was praised as "a magnificent speech" by AKP MP Cuma Icten, who also posted it on his personal Facebook page.[3]

Edirne Province Governor Decrees, "With Great Hatred In My Heart," That Turkey's Grand Synagogue, Currently Undergoing Restoration, Will Not Be Open To Jews - Instead, It Will Be A Museum With No Exhibits

On November 21, 2014, Dursun Sahin, the AKP-appointed governor of Turkey's Edirne Province, which was once a major Jewish population center,  declared that Edirne's Grand Synagogue, which was built in 1907 and is the largest synagogue in Europe, and which is currently being restored, would not, as planned, be available for use as a house of worship. He said: "When the winds of war blow inside Al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem], and those bandits are murdering Muslims, we are restoring their synagogues here [in Turkey].

"I am saying this with great hatred in my heart. This synagogue, the restoration of which is almost complete, will become only a museum, with no exhibits in it."[4]

Edirne Gov. Dursun Sahin. Source: Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, November 22, 2014.

Columnist For Pro-AKP Daily: Islamic State (ISIS) Leader Al-Baghdadi Is A Jew Named Shimon; Jewish Capital And The Mossad Are Behind ISIS

In his September 15, 2014 column in the pro-AKP Turkiye daily, M. Necati Ozfatura claimed Islamic State (ISIS) leader and caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was born to Jewish parents and that his real name is Shimon. He wrote:

"The Mossad trained [Al-Baghdadi] from the time he was 11, then integrated him among the Palestinians, sent him to Baghdad for studying, and gave him the identity of a dead Arab.

"Currently, the U.S. and the E.U. are facing Israel [in a conflict]. Jewish capital is behind ISIS. Global Jewish capital is providing the arms and all the needs of ISIS. Its training is being provided in camps  in Israel. The tactics and strategies employed by ISIS are from the Mossad and from Israeli military officers. Unfortunately, some ignorant and unaware Muslims are following this person [Al-Baghdadi] who is of Jewish origin.

"ISIS's mission is to create chaos in the Middle East, to weaken some Arab countries for the sake of Israel's security, and to draw the new map of the Middle East. After WWI, the English drew the map [of the Middle East] with a ruler. Now it is Israel drawing the new map, to create other states by weakening the influence of the U.S. in the region.

"With the exception of a few, the leaders and administrators of all Arab countries are extensions of the U.S. and Israel. Other than Turkey, the rest of the 56 Islamic countries are blindly eating their own brothers like hyenas. Had the CHP [Turkey's main opposition People's Republican Party] government not abolished the [Ottoman] Caliphate, all these tragedies would not have happened in the Middle East. The ones who prevented the institution of democracy, human rights, rule of law, and the multiparty system in the 56 Islamic countries are the Christian West, imperialist global capital, and the Zionism that rules them all.

"When America's money was printed by the Jewish bank, [President] Kennedy transferred the printing of the dollar to America's Central Bank. And he got assassinated. He was assassinated by the Jewish lobby and the Dallas junta. As soon as Johnson became president after the assassination, he returned the [task of the] printing of the dollar to the Jewish bank.

"Two U.S. presidents had a 'zero debt' policy: Lincoln, who was assassinated in 1865, and Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963.

"First, imperialist powers cause [other countries] to be indebted to them using global capital, since those who accept loans also must obey orders. When [then-Turkish prime minister, now President] Erdogan cut relations with the IMF, the 'Gezi protests' broke out. Israel, the U.S. and Germany were behind the attempted coup carried out in December 17-25, 2013 by the 'parallel construct' [a reference to the Gulen movement]..."

Columnist For Pro-AKP Daily: "Jews Who Pretend To Have Become Muslims Or Christians Are Israel's Most Important Secret Power"

In a subsequent column in Turkiye, on November 14, 2014 Ozfatura wrote, under the title "The Jewish Existence In The World": "The Jewish ideology is based on the Jewish race. Jews who pretend to have become Muslims or Christians are Israel's most important secret power. These [secret Jews] insidiously grab key positions in the finance, media and governments of the countries in which they live, and steer and rule these countries so as to serve the goal of Zionism's global rule.

"We must remember the important statements made by the Jewish professors Bernard Lewis and Gershom Scholem, that 'the Sabbateans[5] never really became Muslims [and that] they live with a double Sabbatean/Jewish identity while pretending to be Muslims.'

"At this time, in America, the converted Jewish clergymen are secretly running some of the Christian churches and are directing the unknowing, naïve Christian masses towards this goal [i.e. Zionism's global rule].

"The Jew Samuel Huntington's theory of the Clash of Civilizations, which for now seems to be directed against only Muslims, is in fact one of the biggest plots of Zionism's targeting of all of humanity..."

Turkish Islamists Defend Felling Of Thousands Of Olive Trees: The Olive Is The "Tree Of The Jews"; Turks Must Cut Down Millions, Stop Eating Olives

The November 7-8, 2014 felling of over 6,000 olive trees in the village of Yirca in Manisa, western Turkey to make way for a power plant - a move allowed by the AKP despite massive protests and attempts to block the bulldozers, and just before Turkey's High Administrative Court (Danistay) ruled for a stay of the operation - was defended and justified by the Islamist and pro-AKP media. Additionally, a flyer, circulated by Islamist websites, claimed that olive trees were being planted "in every country" by Israel because the olive is "the tree of the Jews," which, in the Islamic prophetic tradition of "the stone and the tree" (Wa'd al-hajar wa-'l-shajar), will shield the Jew on Judgment Day. (According to this tradition, the tree is identified as the gharqad, not the olive). The flyer depicted a stereotypical Jew behind an olive tree.

The following is the translation of the flyer:

"Why Should All Olive Trees Be Cut Down?

"When the Day of Judgment approaches, there will be a war between the Muslims and the Jews. Muslims will be the victors in this war. The Jews will run and hide behind the trees and rocks, and the trees and rocks will say, 'Oh Muslim, there's a Jew behind me, come and kill him right away.'

"Only the olive tree will not make such an announcement, because it is a Jewish tree. Israel today is promoting the planting of olive trees in every country. Because they know that this tree will protect them.

"Yesterday, Israel tried to prevent the cutting of olive trees in Soma [near Yirca in Manisa], by stopping the building of the [power] plant. They even managed to get the High Administrative Court (Danistay) to rule for a stay. But our government carried out the felling of the trees, despite the court's ruling - and, by doing so, spoiled Israel's plans.

"It is planned that all the olive trees in Turkey will be cut down within the next three years. This is a very great blow to Israel.

"But it is not enough just to cut down all these trees. Our people must also do their duty; they must stop their consumption of olives, and refuse to be part of their plot.



Reactions To Antisemitic Statements

Turkey's Chief Rabbinate, Directorate Of Foundations, Opposition CHP MP Responds To Edirne Governor's Declaration That Renovated Grand Synagogue Will Not Be A House Of Worship

In response to Edirne Governor Dursun Sahin's statement that the renovated Grand Synagogue would not be used as a house of worship, the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey issued a statement saying: "It is a shame that such remarks are made by a governor who represents our government. By the governor's own admission, his statement was made with great hatred in his heart, turning Turkey's Jews, who have lived here proudly for centuries, into the 'other,' and designating us 'an enemy.'"[6]

Turkish Directorate of Foundations head Adnan Ertem told the Anatolia News Agency on November 22, 2014 that all decisions regarding the use and function of buildings owned by the Directorate are made solely by the directorate itself. He vowed that the Grand Synagogue would serve as a house of worship for Jews and that it would also be open to the public - including to visitors from all over the world.[7]

Grand Synagogue under renovation. Source: Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, November 22, 2014.

Additionally, MP Aykan Erdemir of Turkey's main opposition party CHP condemned the governor's remarks as "hate speech," writing: "If ┼×ahin does not resign, to preserve the dignity of his post and Turkey's honor, he should be removed immediately." He added that "it is shameful for a public official to make such remarks" and noted that "hatred and antisemitism have seized the state."[8]



[1] Diken (Turkey), December 30, 2014.

[2], accessed December 30, 2014.

[3], posted July 29, 2014, accessed December 30, 2014.

OdaTV (Turkey), November 29, 2014.

[4] Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, November 22, 2014. Following the Chief Rabbinate's statement, and under pressure from some liberal columnists, the governor called Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva, on November 24, 2014, to apologize. He said that his remarks were misunderstood and that he was not referring to Turkey's Jewish community. Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), November 25, 2014.

[5] The Sabbateans are the descendants of the Jewish followers of the 17th-century self-proclaimed messiah Sabbetai Sevi, who was forced by the Sultan to convert to Islam; his followers also converted to Islam. While they consider themselves Muslims and are officially recognized as such, the name for them in Turkish, D├Ânme, which means "convert," has overtones of "turncoat."

[6] Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet, November 22, 2014.

[7] AA (Anatolia News Agency), Hurriyet Daily News, November 22, 2014.

[8] Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), November 22, 2014.

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