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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Turkish Jews’

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.

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.

Turkish Jews Fleeing

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Turkey has long been a vacation destination for Israelis.  But with increasing tension between the current Turkish government and Israel, and what some describe as a level of anti-Semitism condoned by the highest levels of the current government, the tiny population of Jews who live in Turkey is rapidly dwindling.

According to figures from 2013, there are approximately 17,400 Jews in Turkey, a mere .02 percent of the population. The Jewish Virtual Library counts 23 active Turkish synagogues, of which 16 are in Istanbul.

Even tourism has been affected.

Tourism from Israel to, for example, the Mediterranean city of Antalya is back up to approximately 50,000 this past summer, which was down as low as 10,000 following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident in which nine Turks died while attempting to violate the Israeli blockade on Gaza. Although the Turks on the boat brutally attacked the Israeli soldiers before any Israelis resorted to violence, Turkey insisted that Israel apologize and financially compensate the families of those who died.

The Mavi Marmara episode was just one in a string of incidents in which previously warm relations between the two westernized Middle Eastern countries became brusque.

An earler incident occurred during the Davos Conference of 2009.  Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan raised his voice at the placid, peaceful Israeli President Shimon Peres, accusing him (Israel) of murdering children on the beach and of Israeli prime ministers having told him “we feel happy when we go into Palestine with our tanks and weapons.”  Erdogan refused to yield the floor despite far extending the bounds of time and courtesy.

And let’s not forget last February, when Erdoğan allegedly called Zionism a “crime against humanity.”

And finally, the recent alleged disclosure of the identity of ten Iranians who had been spying on Iran for the Israeli intelligence service, followed by the fury that the Turkish intelligence chief should be blamed for this leak has brought what had been a lot of background noise to a crescendo.

And now, according to the head of the Turkish community in Israel, Nesim Güveniş, the Jews of Turkey are getting out.

“Anti-Semitism, triggered by harsh statements from the Turkish government, has led to the migration of hundreds of Jewish youngsters from Turkey to the U.S. or Europe,” Güveniş told Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.

With only a smattering over 17,000 Jews still living in Turkey, it won’t be long before the only Jews left are the few Israelis vacationers.  Until something ominous interrupts that pastime as well.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/turkish-jews-fleeing/2013/10/24/

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