From American Thinker
June 13, 2009

Talking Turkey: My Own Speech in a Muslim Country

By Joel J. Sprayregen


I recalled tense days last January when I was in daily contact with leaders of Turkey’s Jewish community of 22,000 members–living among 71 million Muslims–concerning fears resulting from threats against Jews (see my article of Feb. 8, 2008, Turkey’s Prime Minister Leads His Country Down a Destructive Path). My decibels rising for emphasis, I reminded that “Turkish Jews were targeted by officials, political parties and media, including billboards, depicting the strife in Gaza as a struggle between religions. Turkish Jews were made to fear for their safety, e.g, a sign in a store proclaimed “Dogs are welcome, but not Jews and Armenians.'” Jewish doctors took down signs showing their names. A placard in a demonstration of the ruling AK Party said: “Now I understand the value of Hitler.” A school in a large Anatolian city distributed sweets on Hitler’s birthday. Turkish Jews were vilified as barely tolerated guests in a country they have lived in as loyal citizens for 500 years. While Turkey’s top officials at times cautioned against anti-Semitism and the storm has subsided, I wondered aloud: “Have the germs of anti-Semitism been cleansed, or are they incubating until the next storm?” Polls published while I was in Turkey revealed widespread anti-Semitism, e.g., a majority of Turks do not want to live next to a Jewish family. Anti-Semitism is spewed in the government-allied Islamist press, as well as by extreme nationalists and political extremists on the left and right. A subsidized version of Mein Kampf is a best-seller. I saw it widely displayed in the Booksellers’ Bazaar, a place I nerdily frequent in obstinate idiosyncratic preference to the better known Grand Bazaar.

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