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Turkish Israeli Leaders Speak Out About Turkish Spring

Turkish Israelis protesting Erdogan government actions in Istanbul.

Turkish Israelis protesting Erdogan government actions in Istanbul.

Two prominent Turkish Israeli communal leaders speak out about events in Turkey. According to Eyal Peretz, chairman of Arkadash, an organization promoting the Turkish community in Israel, “The Jewish minority in a very extreme fundamentalist state is not a positive situation. Of course a secular state is a much better situation for minorities. I hope there will be a change soon.” He continued, “Many Jews made immigration to Israel. I am sure if it will become worse, by Islamic laws, we will see Aliyah to Israel from Turkey.” Peretz worries that Erdogan is taking Turkey in the direction of Iran, by forbidding people from showing affection in public and restricting alcohol consumption.

Peretz also claims that the atmosphere Erdogan created within Turkey is very problematic for Jews. He explained, “You don’t see a future for your child. If you are old, you will die in Turkey. When you are a young person with a small child, you think, do I want my children to be raised in an Islamist state? You will say no. You are doing it for the future, not the present. You don’t see the future. You don’t see your children raised in an Islamist state. The community is becoming smaller and smaller; they don’t want their children to marry Muslims and they are coming to Israel. I think Turkey loses from that.”

Sivan Tfillin of the leader of the Kemalist Charshi Movement in Israel concurred that Erdogan’s government has been bad for Jews, claiming, “Erdogan is the one who ruined the friendship between Israel and Turkey. Israeli people are now scared to go to Turkey because of Erdogan. By the way, there are a lot of Muslims in Turkey that are convinced that Israel is a bad country because of the media. A lot of people that get to know me say Israelis hate Turks. […] Turkey is a really good friend of Israel and we shouldn’t let Erdogan ruin the friendship.”

ERDOGAN SUPPRESSES DISSENT

Both Peretz and Tfillin expressed that Erdogan is trying to brutally suppress dissent. Peretz emphasized that presently, Turkey has more journalists in prison than any other country in the world , “more than Russia, more than China, more than Iran.” This fact is confirmed by Freedom House, which ranks Turkey as only partly free. He explained, “It says something of this fragile democracy, if you could call it a democracy. I don’t think a country that imprisons journalists is a democracy. People are afraid that Turkey will become an autocracy or something worse, like Libya or Syria.” Peretz complained that the Turkish people were barred access to international media outlets.

According to Tfillin, “Two years ago, when the Arab spring started, I was talking with my friends in Turkey and asked if the same will happen in Turkey. It’s hard because every one is afraid of him. Some journalists had to resign to because of Erdogan. After the Mavi Marmara, I have a friend who works in the news who said he can’t show any thing against him. Erdogan controls the press. All of the Turkish channels are showing shows and pop stars, not the protests. They don’t show anything except for one. We only have facebook and twitter.” Given this, Erdogan is responsible for the fact that Jews are now the main target of hate speech in the Turkish media, according to the Hrant Dink Foundation.

HOPE FOR A BETTER FUTURE

Tfillin really hopes that Erdogan will resign as a result of the Turkish spring. She is presently organizing a chain of protests in Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Turkish people and emphasized that Turkish Jews around the world are participating in the protests alongside Turkish Muslims. She explained, “Now we are doing something against Erdogan. “ Peretz, however, is cautious regarding his expectations from this protest movement. He stated, “I can hope it will lead to a change, maybe to regime change, but I don’t think it will get to that. I hope that the government will understand that its power is limited,[...] they need to consider all different ideas and groups when they create news laws.”

About the Author: Rachel Avraham is a news editor and political analyst for Jerusalem Online News, the English language internet edition of Israel's Channel 2 News. She completed her masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. The subject of her MA thesis was: "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media."


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11 Responses to “Turkish Israeli Leaders Speak Out About Turkish Spring”

  1. Demka Lukic says:

    As a Croatian, I can not help but think how much disgust I have towards ZIONISTS like you Rachael.

  2. Demka Lukic says:

    How sad? How sad that poor Israelis don't see a future in an Islamic country? Hello! Turkey is a known Islamic country! What's all this bullshi* about not having a future in turkey?

  3. Lisa Michelle says:

    The hypocrisy here is stunning. On the one hand, The Jewish Press and the author here, Rachel Avraham of United with Israel, describe the hostility that Erdogan has incited against Jews, who have come under attack and been blamed for the recent protests in Turkey. On the other hand, they promote on their sites the writings of so-called Turkish "peace activists" such as Ms. Sinem Tezyapar, who condone and support Erdogan's recent actions and rule, call the protesters "communists," and promote a Turkish Islamic union and a Fatah-Hamas one as well. These so-called "peace activists" have contributed numerous opinion pieces to both The Jewish Press and United with Israel. Of course, their agenda of a Turkish Islamic union, a new Ottoman Empire, would obliterate Israel's sovereignty, essentially wiping it off the map, which would reduce Jews to dhimmitude status or worse.

    Can you please tell your readers, Ms. Avraham, how you reconcile these two diametrically conflicting positions and whose side you're on?

  4. Steve says:

    Because in the Opinion sections of newspapers all around the world, opposing and conflicting op-ed pieces are often presented, so readers can learn and understand the various different viewpoints on the issues, as well as to introduce debate on complex topics.

  5. Interesting, where does Rachel Avraham (with whom I'm in agreement) stand with the Jewish Press decision to throw their lot in with the likes of Sinem Tezyapar and the cult she belongs to, of Adnan Oktar, who shill for the Erdogan government? Cultist shills for erdogan heaped with kudos…while the reality of Erdogan's Islamo-paradise is properly disected. The JP can't have it both ways.

  6. Lisa Michelle says:

    The Jewish Press has censored and blocked me from beginning my own thread, so I'll try it this way under another comment instead. Ms. Avraham, can you please explain to us where you stand on the issue of a Turkish Islamic union? Have your views changed any since you last promoted the works of Adnan Oktar's disciples?

  7. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Actually, your friend was not blocked and censored for her zealous obsession with the Turks.

    Your friend was blocked after the very rude and crass comments that were made to one of our editors by her and her friends.

    When, after being asked, and then being warned, and still no apology was forthcoming, for stepping over the line of basic decency, your friend was banned.

    We have no problem with presenting opposing views in the op-eds, blogs or comments (even your comment is still here) – even when those views are obsessively repeated over and over and over, as your friend has done.

    But I personally will not accept a disgusting and libelous attack against one of my editors in this paper.

    If your friend can't talk like a decent human being, then she can go elsewhere.

  8. Liad Bar-el says:

    Way to go, Emet Davis for fighting for the truth.

  9. Kenneth and Lisa, I support Sinem's desire, as well as her group, to promote peaceful coexistence between Jews and Muslims. I don't support them when it comes to what they have said regarding these latest protests. I stand with the Turkish protesters in their desire to have Erdogan resign, as I demonstrated in my article about standing in solidarity with the Turkish people or my article speaking about how these protests are good for Israel. Any one who knows me knows that I hate Erdogan and support the Kemalists taking over Turkey once again. I interviewed Sinem and some of her friends in the past because I think it is nice to publish Muslims making pro-Israel statements, yet I didn't agree with what they had to say about the protests and any one who has read my three latest articles on Turkey will know that. I have spoken to Sinem and her group many times and I don't think they are anti-Israel based on the conversations that we have had. However, I don't agree with every thing they have to say and I especially don't agree with them that the Turkish protesters are communists that shouldn't be supported.

  10. Kenneth and Lisa, I support Sinem's desire, as well as her group, to promote peaceful coexistence between Jews and Muslims. I don't support them when it comes to what they have said regarding these latest protests. I stand with the Turkish protesters in their desire to have Erdogan resign, as I demonstrated in my article about standing in solidarity with the Turkish people or my article speaking about how these protests are good for Israel. Any one who knows me knows that I hate Erdogan and support the Kemalists taking over Turkey once again. I interviewed Sinem and some of her friends in the past because I think it is nice to publish Muslims making pro-Israel statements, yet I didn't agree with what they had to say about the protests and any one who has read my three latest articles on Turkey will know that. I have spoken to Sinem and her group many times and I don't think they are anti-Israel based on the conversations that we have had. However, I don't agree with every thing they have to say and I especially don't agree with them that the Turkish protesters are communists that shouldn't be supported.

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