Turks boycott top writer

By Nathalie Rothschild, August 22, 2014

Turkish-Jewish novelist Mario Levi says he "does not feel safe" in Turkey due "strong antisemitic currents".

Mr Levi's books were recently among the targets of a boycott campaign which called on people not to buy "Jewish products".

Mr Levi (right) has received both supportive and insulting messages, with some urging him to condemn Zionism and one person writing: "You're Jewish and like a virus." But the boycott of his books fell flat after Turkish politicians spoke up against it.

Mr Levi called the situation "paradoxical", saying: "It's the first time in my life that I have experienced anything like this. I couldn't even have imagined just how much people like my books and how much they support me, nor could I have imagined that antisemitism is so strong in Turkey."

Since the start of the war in Gaza, violent mass rallies have been held in Turkey. Newly elected president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that while the government is responsible for Jewish citizens' safety, community leaders must speak out against Israel.

Mr Levi said the government was "not pro-Jewish" but that the biggest threat comes from "uncultured people" and "fanatics".

"The atmosphere is not good and I do not feel very safe, but I believe things will change in a positive way. Once the situation changes in Gaza, antisemitism will be forgotten because it is not systematic here."

Last updated: 9:25am, August 26 2014