Photo Credit: HLJ
Turkey's Jewish weekly newspaper, the Salom Gazete.

On Friday Israel’s Foreign Ministry meanwhile ordered the withdrawal of all non-essential personnel from the country due to the rising danger they faced. A day later, the Israeli government issued a travel warning, telling citizens to avoid “non-essential visits” to Turkey, and telling those who had to be there to be “especially vigilant” and stay away from anti-Israel demonstrations.

Carefully orchestrated, vicious pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the capital city of Ankara flashed into anti-Israel riots Thursday night, continuing into Friday and then again on Saturday. Rioters hurled rocks and yelled anti-Semitic and anti-Israel epithets outside Israeli diplomatic offices. They attacked the residence of the Israeli ambassador, smashing the windows and causing other damage. Turkish police stood by and did nothing. In Istanbul, a similar mob attacked the Israeli Consulate. But in that city — once known as Constantinople — police repelled the rioters with tear gas and water cannons.


Erdogan himself fanned the flames – having not-so-subtly incited them himself over the past several years and certainly last week.

On Wednesday, the pro-government, Erdogan-linked daily Yeni Akit newspaper published an open letter written by Faruk Kose to the Turkish chief rabbi, demanding an apology from Turkish Jewry for Israel’s actions in Gaza. “ You came here after being banished from Spain. You have lived comfortably among us for 500 years and gotten rich at our expense. Is this your gratitude – killing Muslims? Erdogan, demand that the community leader apologize!”

An editorial in the same newspaper highlighted the victims in Gaza, according to the ADL, and suggested that Turkey’s Jews condemn Israel’s actions. “While all this is happening, the journal of the Jewish community in Turkey, ‘Salom,’ is referring to the murder of children in Gaza as ‘taking care of terrorists,’ “ the paper wrote. The Jewish weekly, the ‘Salom Gazete’ has spent years, however, trying to pick its way between the raindrops to maintain positive ties with its neighbors, as a rising tide of anti-Semitism continues to grow with the increasing popularity of the Islamist AKP government.

In the past several years, Turkey has also strengthened and warmed its ties with Iran — which has declared its intent to “wipe the Zionist state from the world map.” Moreover, Turkey has begun to play host to an array of terrorist leaders who are basing satellite offices in the up-and-coming radical Islamist nation that once prided itself on its balanced, moderate stance.

“Since [Israel’s re-creation in] 1948 we have been witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every day and every month . . . But above all we are witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every Ramadan,” Erdogan ranted in a speech on Thursday.”

It was the same day that Hamas terrorists broke an Egyptian-brokered humanitarian cease fire aimed at allowing Gaza residents time to move around freely and safely to repair their homes and infrastructure, and obtain food and other necessities. Hamas took advance of Israel refusing to return fire in order to launch mortar shells at Jewish communities along the Gaza border. The attacks, which came about two hours into the five-hour cease fire, were dishonorable and proved again that the word of an Islamist terrorist could not be trusted.

One minute before the cease fire was to officially end, Hamas launched a massive barrage of rocket and missile fire that was aimed at a wide array of targets across the central and southern regions of the country.

That action, plus the fact that 13 operatives had emerged from a tunnel nearly in the midst of a kibbutz in an attempted terror attack earlier in the day — and were stopped only because an IDF patrol jeep was deployed nearby – made it clear that a ground operation was necessary. By nightfall, the decision was made and Israel launched the ground incursion into Gaza – which further enraged the Turkish leader.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.