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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Istanbul’

Temple Mount Activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick Talks Peace in Turkey

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

While Palestinian Authority Arabs have been working hard to keep Jews and others off the Temple Mount with violence and riots, a U.S.-born Israeli rabbi and Israeli Druze Likud member have just returned from a trip abroad to discuss peaceful co-existence.

Temple Mount activist and Heritage Foundation head Rabbi Yehudah Glick traveled to Turkey last week to talk about peace. Glick, who traveled to Istanbul with Likud party Druze member Mendi Safadi, met for discussions with Islamic officials and those of several other faiths.

The two men were hosted by Islamic scholar and peace activist Adnan Oktar, who has long been the quiet “matchmaker” for numerous other such meetings with other Jewish and non-Jewish officials.

Among others, Glick and Safadi met with state official Aydin Yigman, Mufti of the Beyoglu District on the European side in Istanbul. During their conversation, Yigman firmly condemned the assassination attempt that nearly cost Glick his life after a speaking engagement in Jerusalem last year.

“Any religion would condemn this attack,” the mufti stated. “It’s unacceptable.”

Local sources told JewishPress.com the conversation between Glick and the mufti was “very friendly” and described the atmosphere as “cordial.” Glick’s views on peace, particularly important during Ramadan in an Islamic nation whose bond with Israel has faltered in recent years, were “well received,” the source said.

The two Israelis also joined Oktar and others at a large festive Iftar meal to break the daily Ramadan fast on Thursday evening, held annually by Turkey’s A9TV, which is owned by Oktar’s organization. In addition to Islamic clerics and adherents, other participants included representatives from the Protestant, Assyrian, Armenian and Mormon churches as well as politicians, artists, academics and sports figures from Turkey.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick and Likud member Mendi Safadi, an Israeli Druze citizen, join two associates of their host, Islamic scholar and peace activist Adnan Oktar in Istanbul prior to an Iftar meal to break the daily Ramadan fast.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick and Likud member Mendi Safadi, an Israeli Druze citizen, join two associates of their host, Islamic scholar and peace activist Adnan Oktar in Istanbul prior to an Iftar meal to break the daily Ramadan fast.

In an interview with Glick on A9TV earlier in the week, Oktar recounted for his viewers in Turkish the tale of Glick’s brush with death last October and his miraculous survival, describing his role in fighting for Jewish access to the Temple Mount.

(The entire interview with English-language subtitles may be accessed by clicking here.)

During the interview, Glick remarked in English, “The worst thing about terrorism and violence is when people do it in the name of God… This makes it ten times worse… In a civilized society when two people are arguing and one gets up and beats the other one up, it does not mean he is right. It means he needs help and this help is calling to God’s name peace, Islam, Shalom – this is God’s name.

“They tried to kill me because I represent the people of Israel coming to Israel,” Glick added. “And this they tried to harm. And the situation today is, I am alive and he (the assassin) is dead. So we have to thank God for this.”

In response, Oktar commented, “It is the most despicable, lowest, outrageous thing to shoot a person who works for God’s pleasure all the time…

“According to Islam [R. Glick] is a person of the People of the Book and he is a very religious person… insha’Allah (God willing), God will show this beautiful person the King Moshiach – in other words, the Mahdi (Messiah) – and we will rebuild the masjid (ed. – mosque) of the Prophet Solomon, pbuh (peace be upon him), and the palace of Prophet Solmon, pbuh, and God will show him very beautiful days.

2 Cops Hurt, 1 Female Attacker Killed Outside Istanbul Police HQ

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Two police officers were wounded and a female terrorist carrying a bomb was killed in a shootout Wednesday outside Istanbul’s police headquarters.

Turkish police special forces were deployed to the site, according to Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin, who spoke with the BBC. A second gunman who opened fire was wounded by special forces and then taken captive.

The identity of the attackers is not yet clear.

One day earlier, two members of the banned DHKP-C (Revolutionary Liberation Party Front), a Marxist group stormed the largest courthouse in Istanbul and took prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage.

The DHKP-C is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Both the attackers and their hostage, the prosecutor later died in a shootout with police. On Wednesday morning hundreds of people attended Kiraz’s funeral at the courthouse where he was shot and killed before proceeding to the city’s Eyup Sultan mosque.

Turkish Foreign Minister Targets Jews, Warns of ‘Treason’

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Red flags are going up for Jews in Turkey again for the second time in less than a week.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu took aim at Turkish Jewry Sunday  in a thinly-disguised reference to the “Jewish lobby” on Sunday during a speech to local lawmakers, linking such a “lobby” to part of a “parallel structure” (U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen’s supporters) accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being in cahoots with Israeli Mossad intelligence agents.

On January 31, Erdogan had told a meeting of business leaders in Istanbul, “The sincere people backing this parallel structure should see this structure is cooperating with… Shame on them if they still cannot see that this structure is cooperating with the Mossad.” (Erdogan has accused Gulen’s followers of illegal wiretapping and a coup attempt that began with a corruption probe in December 2013. Four former ministers and their sons were investigated at the time; all were later acquitted on all charges.)

“I announce it from here: We have not and will not succumb to the Jewish lobby, the Armenian lobby or the Turkish-Greek minority’s lobbies,” Davutoglu said in his own speech on Feb. 8, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported. Speaking at a provincial congress of the ruling Justice and Development party’s (AKP) in Istanbul, Davutoglu added, “I call out to the parallel lobby and send them a message: We will stand before you with dignity no matter where you are; you will be despicable for the treason you have done to this nation.”

It’s not the first time in the past week that local Jews have been targeted by the current Turkish government.

On Feb. 6, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a snide comment about Jewish prayers while accepting an award from the Roma community in Bursa. As he started to condemn racism, Islamophobia and discrimination, Erdogan suddenly aimed at Judaism itself, specifically the Jewish morning blessings.

“I am addressing to those who talk about women’s rights. Why don’t you raise your voice against the Jews who thank G-d in their prayers that they were not created as women? Was there any other understanding, a logic as demeaning for women as this one?” he said.

The remark is a deliberate misinterpretation of one of the morning blessings recited by Jewish men and women each day, albeit with different versions for each. Jewish men do indeed thank God in one of the numerous blessings they recite in the morning that they were not created as women. The women’s version offers praise to God for being created as women (the literal translation of the prayer is, “as He desires”, in recognition of women’s different roles and responsibilities in Jewish life.)

Istanbul’s largest and most prominent synagogue, Neve Shalom, has become a virtual fortress under constant protection by Turkish security personnel. One must surrender one’s passport in order to enter the magnificent house of worship that once was filled to capacity in a former bustling Jewish neighborhood.

The synagogue was attacked several times by radical Islamic terrorists, leaving wounded, death and destruction in their wake. Turkish security is particularly selective about who is allowed to enter the synagogue; every person who attempts to do so is carefully scrutinized and required to walk through a metal detector prior to entry. The entrance itself is subtly hidden towards the back of the building, which must be accessed through a nondescript side gate.

Today the area around the synagogue is a shopping district and the lovely building with its stained glass windows and wooden seats polished to a sheen echoes with the memories of past festivities, empty but for the handful of Jews who dare to enter for prayers on High Holy Days and other important Jewish holidays.

Observant Jews who have remained in Turkey maintain a very low profile. Kosher food is not to be had in any general supermarket or local grocery store; one needs to know where to go in order to find it. There do not appear to be any local kosher supervision agencies — at least no symbols of any on foods available in public stores. Other members of the Jewish community are the descendants of those who arrived as refugees from Spain in 1492, fleeing the Inquisition, business people, and others who as tourists fell in love and married locals.

Bomb Found Near Istanbul Shopping Center

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

A homemade bomb was found placed outside an Instanbul, Turkey shopping center. Turkish police defused the bomb, according to the al-Ahram website.

On Tuesday, a suicide bomber, believed to have Jihadi links blew himself up in Istanbul.

Alleged Killers Confess to Murdering Turkish Jewish Couple

Monday, August 25th, 2014

An Uzbek couple has confessed to the murders of Jak Karako and his wife, Georgia Karako, owners of Turkey’s upscale yarn manufacturing firm Ören Bayan.

The bodies of the Turkish Jewish couple were found by Istanbul police in their apartment in the Ortaköy neighborhood on Friday.

The suspects, ages 28 and 26, were identified only by their initials in the Todays Zaman newspaper due to legal restraints. The suspects, who were caregivers working for the family, allegedly confessed to the murders under interrogation that they killed their employers in a fit of temper.

Police arrested them at their own apartment, according to the report. Both allegedly confessed that they killed the Karakos because the victims withheld wages in compensation for items the caregivers had broken in the home, and they were angry they had received no money for two months.

A judge at the Istanbul Courthouse handed down a decision to arrest them following their confession.

Turkey’s President-elect Erdogan Building PR via Israel & Gaza

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Turkey’s President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan — the country’s current prime minister — is scoring major public relations points at home via Gaza, through Israel.

Erdogan is raising millions for Gaza residents left homeless in the wake of a war on Israel started by their Hamas terrorist leaders.

The Ankara government has raised $20.8 million dollars so far to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza since the start of Operation Protective Edge, according to the Yeni Safak newspaper, which quoted Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah Isler.

The country’s international development agency, TIKA, provided 15,000 Gaza families “through its permanent office in Gaza, under the ongoing heavy Israeli attacks,” Isler claimed in a written statement to the paper.

A rundown of benefits provided by the Turkish government included:

  • Daily food for more than 350,000 Palestinian Authority unity government Arabs since the beginning of Ramadan (but it was not made clear whether they were all residents of Gaza);
  • ‘Desperately-needed fuel’ for the Palestinian Energy Authority; and
  • Medicine and generators delivered by the Turkish Red Crescent.

In addition, Turkey transferred 18 wounded people to Ankara for medical treatment “as part of a plan to evacuate “thousands” from Gaza.

What was not mentioned was the pivotal role of Israel and Egypt in all of this: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was careful to first visit both nations to formally request the use of their airspace prior to sending aircraft to collect anyone from Gaza or deliver any form of aid.

As a matter of fact, Turkish aircraft have been using Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport to transfer all of the supplies and transport patients between Gaza and Ankara.

In addition, all aid deliveries to the region have been carried out with the full cooperation of the State of Israel via the land crossings into Gaza.

That, despite some rather vicious, anti-Israeli rhetoric by Turkish president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s prime minister to date, including comparing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Hitler.

Also not mentioned was the fact that the top terrorist in Hamas, Salah al-Arouri, is living safely in Turkey, far from the reach of Israel and well within range of those from whom he can raise funds to finance more attacks against the Jewish State.

Erdogan has tightened Turkey’s ties with Iran and has equated Zionism with racism, leading the country in an anti-Semitic direction that has threatened the good relations Turkish Jews have always enjoyed with their neighbors. Breitbart News this week quoted one businessman as saying that Turks now swear at Jews in the street. The site reported that “one hotel warned in response to an email message requesting to book a room that ‘for your further safety concerns it is our duty to inform you that the Palestine embassy is our next door neighbor and we do not have private security within the hotel.'”

No need for that warning: Israel has already slapped an alert against travel to Turkey by its citizens. Most — if not all — all kosher production supervisors reportedly left the country several weeks ago following riots and attacks on Israel’s embassy in Ankara and near its consulate in Istanbul, in addition to harassment by various individuals.

A statement by Erdogan pressuring Turkish Jews to issue public condemnations of Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge against the Hamas terrorist group — launched to silence incessant rocket fire on citizens of southern Israel — makes clear his position regardless of any future ‘business’ arrangements with the Jewish State.

Are Turkey’s Jews in Trouble?

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Are the Jews of Turkey – Israel’s former ally in the region — in danger?

On Friday, the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed alarm at the increasingly hostile environment towards Israel in Turkey that has extended itself towards that country’s Jews.

The ADL called on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reject the targeting of Turkish Jews over Israel’s counter terrorist Operation Protective Edge — launched to silence the rocket fire aimed by Hamas at Israeli civilians – and to publicly assert that the Jewish community has the full support and protection of the state.

Instead, Erdogan issued an additional condemnation of Israel the next day, telling supporters in a speech at the Black Sea resort city of Ordu, “[Israelis] have no conscience, no honor, no pride. Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism.” According to the Reuters news service, the Turkish leader repeatedly likened Israel to the Nazi murderers over the Jewish State’s current counter terrorist Operation Protective Edge against the Hamas rulers of Gaza.

But Erdogan was apparently persuaded by senior members of his Islamic AKP party to lower the heat against the Jews in his own country, if only a trifle. “I don’t approve of any [bad} attitude towards our Jewish citizens in Turkey despite all this. Why? They are the citizens of this country,” he said.

Approximately 17,000 Jews remain in the country. But the rising anti-Semitism combined with increasing difficulty for young Jews in finding a spouse is prompting families to emigrate at a much faster rate than they have in past years. Istanbul’s Sephardic synagogue, the magnificent Neve Shalom, has been attacked by Palestinian Arab terrorists three times since 1986 — most recently in 2003.

Neve Shalom Synagogue of Istanbul, June 2013.

Neve Shalom Synagogue of Istanbul, June 2013.

As recently as June 2013, in order to enter the building, a visitor had find the small nonedescript entrance alley off to the side, then surrender one’s passport, walk through a metal detector and undergo a search carried out by grim Turkish security personnel. Some visitors were not allowed in anyway, depending upon the whim of the security guards.

APC

Street view of Neve Shalom synagogue, Istanbul, June 2013.

Street view of Neve Shalom synagogue, Istanbul, June 2013.

The Sephardic Jewish Center was also well hidden, away on a side street in the center of Istanbul in a posh neighborhood filled with upscale restaurants. One would not know it was there, unless you knew what to look for. Even then, the entrance is hidden.

To find it, one enters a building and is greeting immediately by a friendly security man at the door who asks your business. An upscale shop is located on the ground floor, across the from desk.

If you know what to ask, and where you are going, you are passed through to the location of a small elevator, well protected with metal grating and heavy steel bars and locks. Several other security measures later, all with heavy reinforcements, and eventually one emerges into the offices of the Jewish news weekly, the Salom Gazette, housed in the Sephardic Jewish Center, the nerve center of Turkish Jewry. The Istanbul-based Center, which is struggling for resources — and survival — at this point, produces the only Ladino newspaper in the world. It is probably the only spot in the country where Jews can find materials in Hebrew, Ladino, and other languages about Israel and Judaism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/are-turkeys-jews-in-trouble/2014/07/20/

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