Turkey: Jewish groups urge Ankara to stop 'anti-Semitism'

Ankara, 23 Jan.(AKI) - Five prominent Jewish organisations in the United States have written to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urging him to urgently address what they claim is a wave of anti-Semitism. A report the Turkish daily, Hurriyet, said on Friday the organisations had expressed concern over what they called "anti-Semitic manifestations" in Turkey.

Leaders of the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith International, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, made the plea to Erdogan.

"Turkey rightly prides itself on many centuries of coexistence with Jews. But today our Jewish friends in Turkey feel besieged and threatened," the organisations said.

"Billboards around Istanbul are full of anti-Jewish propaganda posters. The door of a Jewish-owned shop near Istanbul University was covered with a poster that said, 'Do not buy from here, since this shop is owned by a Jew.'

"The defacing of an Izmir synagogue has brought about the temporary closure of all but one of that city’s synagogues," said the letter, citing such incidents as examples of increasing acts of anti-Semitism in Turkey.

The groups' letter noted a connection between "the inflammatory denunciation of Israel by Turkish officials and the rise of anti-Semitism".

Turkey, a key regional ally that had been sponsoring informal talks between Israel and Syria, was among the countries that condemned the Jewish state for its recent offensive in the Gaza Strip that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and injured at least 5,000 others.

The Turkish prime minister has harshly criticised Israel, saying the Jewish state's actions in Gaza was "a crime against humanity".

According to Hurriyet, Jewish organisations are among Turkey's strongest supporters in Washington.


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