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Turkey boosts security for Jewish residents amid protests

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Turkey boosts security measures at synagogues, Israeli consulates and Jewish residences, including 20 locations in Istanbul alone, as tensions increase over Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla. Some Jewish residents remain concerned about the community's safety despite assurances from Turkish officials that they will not be the target of protests
Protesters burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul. AP photo.

Protesters burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul. AP photo.

Turkey has beefed up security to protect its Jewish minority and Israel’s diplomatic missions in response to increased tensions over Israel’s deadly raid on an aid ship dispatched by a Turkish NGO.

Security has been stepped up at 20 points in Istanbul alone, where there are several synagogues and centers serving 23,000 Jewish residents, Interior Minister Beşir Atalay said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. He added that measures have been taken at residences, consulates and places of worship in the city.

The move came as hundreds of Turks protested against Israel for the third day Wednesday. The interior minister said no harm had been done, or would be allowed to come, to any Jewish person during demonstrations staged in Turkey, the Anatolia new agency reported.

Turkish resentment of Israel has risen dramatically since Monday’s killing of nine people, including as many as seven Turks, on the aid ship. Following the deadly incident, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and scrapped planned war games with Israel.

Israel, meanwhile, ordered families of its diplomats to leave Turkey as relations between the two countries sank to a new low. Israeli media reported Wednesday that the foreign ministry ordered the families of its diplomats in Turkey to leave because of the uproar over the deadly raid by the Israeli navy. The diplomatic mission itself would remain in Turkey, said Israel Radio and other stations and newspapers. The ministry would neither confirm nor deny the reports. 

Hostility against Israel increases throughout the world, not just in Turkey, when it commits such an act, said Roni Margulies, a Turkish citizen of Jewish origin and a columnist for daily Taraf. “In some circles, a clear distinction between hostility against Jews and Israel may not be made,” he said. “We know this is so in Turkey – not in general, but in some circles.”

In one such incident Monday in the northeastern province of Tekirdağ, a Turkish man punched a Jewish cyclist. The fact that the assailant turned out to be a lawyer is “something unique to Turkey,” according to political analyst Cem Oğuz.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has launched a series of harsh verbal attacks on Israel since Monday’s raid. More than 20,000 people demonstrated in Turkey after the attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla, many of them burning Israeli flags.

“But the prime minister also said Tuesday that he was against anti-Semitism. He says it during each crisis but he repeated it yesterday,” said Ivo Molinas, the editor in chief of the Istanbul-based weekly publication Shalom, which has a circulation of around 5,000. “Both him and the leaders of the opposition have said that all of this will have no effect on the Jews of Turkey.”

Despite the reassurances, the Jewish community in Turkey is definitely worried, Molinas said, noting that the anger in the country could turn very easily to anti-Semitism. “The rhetoric used by the prime minister has been very radical,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse.

According to Taraf columnist Margulies, there were similar concerns when Israel invaded Gaza two years ago but no hostile action was taken against Turkish Jews. “I hope it will be so this time, too,” he said.

Margulies added that he finds it very positive and necessary that Erdoğan said in his speech that Jews in Turkey should not be targets of anger toward Israel.


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Guest - gerta
2010-06-03 11:36:23
  Erdogan and Netanyahu are both hard headed, rightist, self deceiving politicians. Erdogan has been threatened by the new left wing opposition. I assumed he would probably have to increase his religious vows for popularity. the new left opposition leader Kilicdaroglu has immediately grabbed the middle left and almost middle right. erdogan has to get the extremists. Regarding Netanyahu, he is just not a good leader. This raid and convoy was just a big mistake. I don't support Erdogan's stand on the Israel issue, the Israeli people shouldn't support their government on this issue. Turkey and Israel has long been allies in the region against back stabbing Arab leaders (anyone seen them lately, what's the mum about? ohh, they are not happy that peace might come to the region) Israel and Turkish citizens need to come to their senses, stop the stupidity, apologize to each other. luckily our militaries have more sense. We have no friends but each other in the region.

Guest - Esperalzi Malaysia
2010-06-03 10:11:01
  I personally believe that every Turk, Jews included, must be given protection by the Turkish state. Jews outside Israel, especially those in Turkey, should not be punished for the actions of Israel in this Mavi Marmara crisis. And as for Turkish Jew, their loyalty must foremost be with Turkey, their real homeland and motherland as Turks, not with Israel. Turkish Jews must not emulate American Jews whose loyalty seems more with Israel than the US. Historically, Turkey had a great humane reputation in protecting Jews when these very Jews were being persecuted in Catholic Spain during the Spanish Inquisition

Guest - Syed M
2010-06-03 09:57:02
  Israeli citizens have every right to feel free, safe and secure in Israel just as I am in my country of residence. Israel was created by means which in the entire world opinion refer to as genocide because it was cleared of the population which already existed on that land. The victims of this injustice have been suffering ever since and have been denied every right to existence. Gaza is a refugee camp and so is West Bank surrounded by heavily armed army of volunteers (Jews) from Sea, Air and by an apartheid Walls erected inside these camps to segregate schools from home, food from hungry mouths, to separate a farmer from his farm, to keep away victims from getting medical helpand to make life difficult for the natives in every possible way.These big refujee camps have 5 million jewish settlers who are spread throughout the territory standing and proudly saying I am a jew, a place where we dont need to hide the KIPA, speak Ladino instead of Hebrew and so on. How honorable is it?

Guest - We Are All 1
2010-06-03 09:01:21
  We Are All togther behind & support Turkey Egyptians

Guest - Stephen W Feldmann
2010-06-03 06:09:24
  I have just cancelled my trip to Turkey that I planned a year ago because I dont want to be subject to anti-Jewish violence. While Mr Erdogan may claim that he is against anti-Jewish violence, he has created an atmosphere where synagogues and Jews need extra security. I will visit Israel instead. I dont want my money funding IHH

Guest - Abby
2010-06-03 05:47:31
  Both Jews and Christians have been part of the middle east, and citizens of Turkey, for thousands of years. What's happened to the flotilla was perpetrated by ISRAELIS, not Jews in the diaspora. Please help people in Turkey understand the difference. I am an American and am tired of Israel getting away with these kind of acts, because everyone else is afraid of them, including us in the US. I hope this incident is fully investigated and international court punished the guilty fully

Guest - B. Baronian
2010-06-03 05:05:10
  Mr. Abdallah 1- Islamophobia is not a reality just in the US..it is everywhere in the world...Why does this fear of Muslims exists...simply because of similar acts taking place everywhere (Wrongly) in the name of Islam. Muslim countries are mainly poor and governed by ambitious leaders desperate to hang on to power...and for this purpose they will entice their populace with false propaganda and nationalistic views...Ultimately, this will sooner or later lead to war. I have many Muslim friends and they are no different than myuself or the guy next door...It is the radical element you've got to get under control...I am not sure why Muslims feel they are discriminated against,,,when for example Turkey has decided they will let a certain Armenian Church perform religious services once a year... after obtaining the obligatory permits. 2-Barack Obama has no power..It is the US bureaucracy that runs the country, not the President as it is widely believed.

Guest - david
2010-06-03 03:55:09
  Do not beleive a sick society! Turkey through out its short history always needs to protect its minorities living in Turkey from racists and thugs (most of the time does a lousy job ask the kurds, greeks & armenians) but then tries to give the rest of the world a lesson on justice, human values & peace....unbeleivable!!!!

Guest - ted k...usa
2010-06-03 03:30:24
  To all: I believe that God and Allah, the principals of our faith, as well as Ataturk, Golda Mier, and others, who shaped the nations, would be ashamed of ALL participants-whether before, during or after the incident. Life is already too short, regardless of politics, to take part in killing or being killed for the sake of "I'm right; You're wrong." We can't all be wrong. We can't all be right. We have to find inner peace and recognize that there are differences. And leave it at that. You can't kill for peace.

Guest - herosaint
2010-06-03 03:00:50
  Not being like current Israeli government and not being like Jews are two different things. Turks have no problem with Jews as always, but it is not a must to approve the decisions or stance that Israeli government has been taken, just like we are not required to approve any decision that any other country may take. So, please split these two things (Israeli government and Jews). I am sure that many of Jewish-origined Turkish citizen love this country more than many other Turkish citizens.

Guest - Albanian
2010-06-03 02:51:52
  One thing I know if one person is bad in the family doesn't mean the whole family is bad i see this and i read what happen i feel sorry for lost of innocent lives and what happen was a big mistake with no one or any one has a right to do so they are international laws and those people who give such order or where involved should be hold responsible for that..PEACE

Guest - ted
2010-06-03 02:31:22
  @Idan...When the Spanish expelled Jews from Spain, the Jews were received by Turkey and the Arab World. This is why Jews today speak about their Jewish communities in various Arab countries and Turkey. It's ironic that the Jews are killing the people that saved them from extermination. But you know history has a habit of repeating itself. Perhaps the world is moving toward a nuclear holocaust.

Guest - TINAZ
2010-06-03 02:02:49
  Main hostility in Turkey now is toward Turkish people. Those Turkish people who are followers of Ataturk and his republic system is under pressure.

Guest - Noor
2010-06-03 01:04:51
  " According to the Torah teachings, Jews are in exile by divine decree. They are forbidden to leave exile and create their own state by physical means. Secondly, Jewish law forbids Jews to rebel against any other nations. Jews are required to be loyal citizens in the countries in which they reside. Hence, the state of "Israel" is forbidden. The creation of the state of "Israel" transgresses these and other basic principles of Torah law. It was established on the land of others, totally against the will of its indigenous population, the Palestinian people, with endless and continuous oppression of its people, including murder, brutal beating, confiscation of their properties and baseless imprisonment etc." NETUREI KARTA INTERNATIONAL; JEWS UNITED AGAINST ZIONISM-- nkusa.org

Guest - Samantha
2010-06-03 00:40:19
  Mr. B. Baronian is right with one exception... just remember what happened after 9/11 in American cities?...or after Pearl Harbor with the Japanese Americans... Believe me these regrettable things happen constantly... very sad indeed...

Guest - guest
2010-06-03 00:36:17
  Should Israel face censure over an attack on a Gaza aid convoy? vote yes http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/

Guest - Zione
2010-06-02 22:51:20
  As a jewish I like Turkish people you have been the only muslim country in the midll-east helping jwish state, offcourse we are not mixing things together those people on the board were only a banch of muslim extrimist who are supporting terrorist, a we know Turkey is a seculare country with good reputation amongst jewish people we are all brather and we can live in pease and harmony we can bring the exterimist on knee together. longe live Israil/long live Turkey

Guest - Ahmet
2010-06-02 21:47:10
  To Turkey Lover: In 1492 the sultan welcomed 150 thousand jews (escaping the inquisition) who settled in Salonika and what is now Istanbul. In the Nazi era safe passage was given by Turkey for jews, and many jews settled in Turkey during that time. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Israel in 1949. Jews were always welcome in Turkey. And now you say that they were not free to proudly say "I am a jew" in Turkey? How dare you. You welcome the jews back to Israel? Most Turkish jews never lived in Israel. They preferred Turkey to Israel. You can't welcome them BACK! And CEASE and DESIST from using Hos Geldiniz in welcoming jews to the terrorist state of Israel. Use Hebrew. Don't dirty the Turkish language by associating it with Israel. The Turkish/Israeli relationship has changed forever. All supporters of Israel have Turkish blood on their hands. Jews have ruined their relationship with Turkey. - Ahmet

Guest - really?
2010-06-02 21:45:13
  I would like to know where are protests from the turkish jewish community against israel's wanton murder campaign? Also, why is it, that turkish jews go to israel and volunteer for military service? How is this possible and to which end? You see, these questions will not be answered for the truth is obvious and will be subverted in the usual convoluted manner. Its all rather simple. Might is right, so they get away with it. They support the pkk and other groups around the world. And then play with holocaust sentiments. The foreign minister of israel, the chief of staff of america, take a look at who they are, what they really say. You will start missing saddam. The nature of the threat is far beyond our wildest nightmares.

Guest - motokosoma
2010-06-02 17:15:50
  B. Baronian, attacks of Jews in Turkey have mostly been by Arabs or non-Turkish Muslim foreigners. Now that Israel has murdered Turkish activists "armed" with household items, they have intentionally created new Nationalist, not Islamist, threats against Turkish Jews. You are right though, Turkish Jews are Turks first and foremost. They are just as Turkish as anyone else with a Turkish passport. The Turkish State has an obligation to protect them. The IDF is not an incompetent force. Why on earth would they drop their soldiers in the middle of a mob who may have been intentionally provoked? Videos released by the IDF do not show possible provocation before commandos were dropped. I believe the commandos encouraged the mob assault to justify murdering Turkish activists whom they already considered to be terrorists. Shame on the IDF. Shame on Erdogan for using Turkish humanitarians as pawns for expanding his own Middle East agenda. Erdogan should focus on domestic humanatarian issues

Guest - asker
2010-06-02 17:01:24
  A Turk will not burn or stap on any Flag!!! Stop that!!! Anyway Israel needs to apologize and to send the responsible for the killings to court!!! "Peace at home, peace in the world!"

Guest - idan
2010-06-02 16:55:43
  To all the Turkish people that don't hate Israel, we like you, we think the problem is the fundamental muslams in your country who are against Israel. There are 400,000 Isralies that come to visit Turkey every year and like to be there, but unfortuantly your goverment is ruined everything that is good between countries. I want to remind to the Turkish people that before 11 years there was an earthquake in Izmit and looks who came to help you: Location Search and Rescue Teams From: Gölcük Hungary, Israel, France Yalova Germany, Hungary, Israel, United Kingdom, France, Austria, Romania taken from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_%C4%B0zmit_earthquake

Guest - Abdallah
2010-06-02 16:50:26
  Mr Baronian, That is not true. Visit CAIR web site in America and you will find the increasing islamophobia in the US. Visit anywhere with Jewish monority - they have their own schools, own parks, own neighbourhood security even in London. Jew try to live separate life and I dont object to that. Turkey is a tolerant country unlike Israel. I am disappointed that Barack Obama is silent and is not free to speak the truth.

Guest - Joseph
2010-06-02 16:46:16
  The remaining Armenians and Greeks should watch out too. Fascism is rearing its ugly head In Turkey and much like 1955, all minorities will be targeted and scapegoated due to Turkey's anger at Israel.

Guest - B. Baronian
2010-06-02 16:09:11
  If Turkey feels the need to boost security for its Jewish citizens, then it simply means that Jews in Turkey are not "really" integrated into Turkish Society and are still looked upon as foreigners. On the other hand a Turk born or naturalized in the United States or Canada would never ever need extra protection because he/she would just simply be US or Canadian citizens and nobody would question their origins...and until the Middle east understands this fundamental difference in thinking...there cannot be peace.

Guest - Turkey Lover
2010-06-02 14:52:45
  Jews in Turkey. In 1939, everybody promised the Polish Jews (and all jews in Europe) that nothing will happen to them... Israel is not heaven but is the only place in the world that you can stand and proudly say im a jew, a place where you dont need to hide the KIPA, speak Ladino instead of Hebrew, and brief your children to hide their religion and be carefull when speaking about Israel. Israel welcomes you back, no matter who you are. HOS GELDINIZ!


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