Turkey acts to stop wave of hate

By Sami Kohen, February 12, 2009

The Turkish government has launched a series of measures to combat the antisemitism that hit Turkey during Operation Cast Lead, and has started trying to mend severely strained ties with Israel.

Following strong condemnation of antisemitism by President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the State Religious Affairs Department instructed clerics in all mosques to refrain from delivering sermons that could provoke anti-Jewish feelings. During the Gaza crisis, mass demonstrations after Friday services had featured antisemitic elements.


Erdogan ‘vows’ to fight hate

February 5, 2009

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who has been fiercely critical of Israel’s conduct in Gaza — vowed to act against a wave of antisemitism in Turkey, including street protests, direct threats to Jews and a boycott campaign, following the war.


Angry Muslim ally sides with Hamas

By Sami Kohen, January 8, 2009

Israel’s relations with Turkey, its closest Muslim ally, are in crisis as a result of the Israeli offensive.

As thousands of Turks took to the streets of Istanbul and other cities to condemn Israel’s action, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Israel for dealing what he called “a fatal blow” to Turkey’s mediation efforts between Israel and Syria and called Israel’s action a “crime against humanity”.


Turkish community chief disowns ‘plotter rabbi’

By Sami Kohen, November 20, 2008

The Jewish community in Turkey has warned that the case of a supposed convert to Judaism accused of being involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the government may stir antisemitic feeling.

Tuncay Guney, 36, left Turkey in 2004 and emigrated to Canada, where he reportedly adopted the Jewish faith and became a "rabbi" in Toronto.


Jewish students meet in Turkey to foster interfaith dialogue

By Sami Kohen, August 26, 2008
More than 500 Jewish young men and women from across Europe gathered in the port town of Sile near Istanbul as part of a summer programme organised by the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS).

Some 70 Jewish students from Istanbul joined the group in their week-long event, the first time that Jewish students from Europe held their annual summer event - called Summer-U - in Turkey.


Iran uses Turkey visit to attack Israel

By Sami Kohen, August 21, 2008

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seized the opportunity of visiting Istanbul to launch fierce attacks on Israel.

His visit caused diplomatic tensions between Israel and Turkey, which enjoy close relations.

‘"The deep-rooted reason for all the aggressions, oppression and bloodshed in the region is the Zionist regime,'' he said at a press conference as he ended his two-day working visit to Istanbul last week during which he had extensive talks with Turkish leaders on bilateral relations and Tehran's nuclear ambitions.