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April 28th, 2016
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The Big Turkish Lie: 'There Is No Anti-Semitism in Turkey' – Part 2

The Big Turkish Lie: 'There Is No Anti-Semitism in Turkey' – Part 2

Many Turks today under the current Islamist government do not even feel the need to hide their Jew-hating, racist views either on the internet or in their everyday lives.

(Continued from last week)

Turkish Secularists and anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitic propaganda in Turkey is not peculiar to Islamists. Some secularist intellectuals have also spent much time to promote the prejudice or hatred against the Jews.

A well-known secularist journalist in Turkey, Can Dundar, for instance, tried to distort the real objective of the Holocaust by emphasizing the identities of all people who lost their lives in the war, and ignoring the open intentions of the Nazis, the perpetrators of the genocide. He wrote in his column on June 6, 2000:

“As the Hollywood movies depicting the Second World War are mostly made with Jewish capital, people suppose that the only victims of the war were Jews. It is a disgrace to count the dead but it is useful to know that out of the 40 million losses, 6 million were Jews; 26 million were Soviet citizens.”

In 2002, Dundar wrote another piece titled “The Jewish Lobby in the USA” in which he tried to “prove” that Jews run the world:

“Not only do the US administration, but also the academic circles, the capitalist circles and the media operate as the propaganda tool of Israel. When the celebrated reporters of CNN catch [Yasser] Arafat, they turn into prosecutors.”

He then went on to warn his readers to be aware of the Jewish dominance in the world media and politics:

“Probably, on TV, in the media, the internet and under most of the speeches coming out of the mouths of state authorities are also their [the Jews’] invisible signatures. Do try to see them!”

Dundar was recently arrested due to his coverage of ISIS-Turkey relations and was frequently bashed by Turkey’s President Erdogan. But actually, Erdogan and Dundar seem to have at least one thing in common: their belief that Jews control the international media and politics:

At a speech given at the Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum in 2010, Erdogan also said that Israel dominates the world media: “When the world media is pronounced, Israel and Israel’s administration comes to mind. They have the ability to manipulate it as they wish.”

Soner Yalcin, a bestselling Kemalist author, also claimed in his book “The Great Secret of White Turks” published in 2004 that the world is ruled by Jews and Turkey by the Dönme, or Crypto Jews.[ii]

Among the many public intellectuals, who claim the Dönme control Turkey is Professor Yalcin Kucuk, known for his Marxist and Kemalist views. Kucuk has dedicated much of his career to spreading his myths about who the Dönme are, what they do and how they secretly dominate the Turkish politics.

Anti-Semitism on Turkish TV

Anti-Semitism is a popular theme on Turkish TV, as well. Bali gives two examples:

“The extremely popular Turkish action series Kurtlar Vadisi (Valley of the Wolves) consistently portrays Jews in the most negative light, always evil and usually as cruel oppressors.”[iii]

“Another TV serial titled ‘Separation: Palestine in Love and War,’ broadcast on Turkish State television (TRT) at prime time in 2009, depicted IDF soldiers murdering Arab civilians and newborn children in cold blood.

“The predictable result of such an extraordinarily hostile atmosphere has been the demonization not only of the terms Zionism, but of Israel and Jew as well,” Bali concludes.

Poll: Israel is Most Hated Country in Turkey

On November 15, 2003, Islamist terrorists with two trucks carrying bombs exploded the Bet Israel and Neve Shalom synagogues in Istanbul. Explosions devastated the synagogues, killing 23 people.

Five days later, on November 20, another group of Islamist terrorists detonated their truck bombs at the headquarters of HSBC Bank and the British Consulate in Istanbul, killing 30 people and wounding 400 others.

One of the perpetrators of the blast at the HSBC bank was Ilyas Kuncak, an al Qaeda member. His son, 17, gave an interview about his family for the newspaper Milliyet. When the interviewer asked him how his family felt after the explosions at the synagogues, he replied:

“There was not a big reaction at home. For it was done to the Jews. After all, the Koran tells us ‘do not befriend the Jews.’ We did not like the Jews much. Actually, we did not like them at all. Nobody would if we told them about the situation in Palestine.”

Turkish people – like all other Muslim peoples - are already prone to anti-Semitism due to the intense anti-Semitic references in the Islamic scriptures. But as they have also been exposed to the Jew-hating or Israel-hating bombardment of many of their politicians and writers, their anti-Semitic inclinations seem to have doubled.

Many online articles or editorials in the Turkish press dealing with Israel are filled with Israel-hating reader responses. There are countless internet postings that parrot the anti-Semitic propaganda of Turkish political leaders and authors.

Another bit of evidence for anti-Semitism in the Turkish society can be found in the results of public opinion surveys.

“In both Pakistan and Turkey, 76% express unfavorable opinions of Jews, while fewer than one-in-ten have a positive impression,” reported PEW Research Center in 2008.

Another Pew Research Center poll released in 2014 found that Israel was the country most hated by Turkish citizens. 86% of responders said they had an unfavorable opinion of Israel, while only 2% viewed it positively.

Successive Turkish governments have often repeated that Turkey is one of those rare countries in which there has never been a serious problem of anti-Semitism. According to the Turkish official state ideology, the Republic of Turkey has made all citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, equal under the law and Jews in Turkey have lived for centuries within a tolerant environment. Facts, however, prove the complete opposite.

Ever since the Turkish republic was established, anti-Semitism has been increasingly commonplace in both the political discourse and the media. And many Turks today under the current Islamist government do not even feel the need to hide their Jew-hating, racist views either on the internet or in their everyday lives.

Throughout the 93 years of the Turkish republic, many governments have come to power, many laws have been changed and several different political developments have been experienced. But one of the things that has remained unchanged is the rampant anti-Semitism in Turkey.

Undoubtedly, many Turkish political leaders and media representatives share the responsibility of infecting millions of Turks with the virus of Jew-hatred.


[i] “Erbakan claimed that an average Turk worked half a day for Israel and half a day for local compradors. On the price of a loaf of bread, he maintained that one third was paid toward interest on the national debt which goes through the IMF (International Money Fund) and the World Bank to Israel; one third was paid in taxes to subsidize foreign trade, and only one third went to the baker himself.

“On foreign policy issues, National View also adopts a so called ‘anti-Zionist’ view.

“According to Erbakan, Zionists – who are according to him racist, imperialist, Jewish capital owners – are seeking to assimilate Turkey and extract Turkish society from its historical Islamic roots by integrating Turkey into the European Union. Israel, for Erbakan, represents a major locus of anti-Muslim evil in the world. The main intention behind integrating Turkey into the European Union, Erbakan contends, is to create a ‘Greater Israel.

(From: “Discursive Strategies and Political Hegemony: The Turkish case”, by Can Kucukali, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2015.)

[ii] “The term Dönme (literally, ‘turned around’) is generally used in Turkey for people who have changed their religious or national affiliation or their sexual orientation,” wrote Corry Guttstadt in her book “Turkey, the Jews, and the Holocaust.”

“But in a narrower sense, the word Dönme designates followers of Sabbatai Twi (Sevi), ‘a false Messiah’ of the seventieth century, who inspired Jews throughout Europe and eventually converted to Islam. Some of his followers, who likewise converted in his wake, founded their own sect whose center was in Salonika. After Salonika had been lost, and once again after the founding of the Republic, almost all Dönme resettled in Turkey. As early as the 1920s and 30s, the Dönme were targeted by a very specific type of anti-Semitism that is particularly virulent today.” (From: “Turkey, the Jews, and the Holocaust”, by Corry Guttstadt, Cambridge University Press, 2013.)

[iii] The “Valley of the Wolves” has obtained remarkably high ratings since it was first aired in 2003 up until today.

Uzay Bulut


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