By Caroline Glick –
Last Thursday, two Turkish businessmen stopped for lunch in a fish restaurant during a business trip to Edirne in the Babaeski region.
At some point during their meal, the restaurant owner figured out that they were Jews.
Rather than show them the hospitality Turkey is renowned for, he said he won’t serve Jews, and began cursing them and the Torah. He then took a long knife off the counter and threatened to kill them.
The men ran for their lives.
Anti-Semitic attacks have become regular events in Turkey. In December, after leaving an anti-corruption rally in Istanbul, a young woman was attacked by 10 to 15 supporters of Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan who had just left a support rally for the premier.
They accused her of being a Jew, as they beat her up.
In an interview with The Times of Israel, Turkish opposition MP Ayken Kerdemir said that Erdogan has cultivated Turkish anti-Semitism. “He is not only capitalizing on the existing sentiments, Kerdemir explained. Erdogan is “fueling some of that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic feeling… with his rhetoric, conspiracy theories, campaign slogans and actions.”
Kerdemir explained that Erdogan’s cultivation of anti-Semitism in Turkish society will continue to affect Turkey’s behavior and social values long after he is gone. “Even after Erdogan and AKP are gone, even if [the opposition party] CHP comes to power, it will take us quite some time to mend inter-societal relations through dialogue, awareness raising and sensitivity training.”
Once you let that genie out of the bottle, it is very hard to stuff it back inside.
Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is not opportunistic. He isn’t simply exploiting a popular prejudice for his own benefit. He is an anti-Semite. And his anti-Semitism informs his behavior toward Israel.
In Kerdemir’s view, Erdogan’s uncontrollable hatred of Jews makes it impossible for him to agree to reconcile Turkey’s relations with Israel.
As he put it, “Erdogan’s core values vis-à-vis Jews and Israel prevent him from dealing with this issue in a tolerant, embracing and sustainable way.”
Against this backdrop it should surprise no one that this week Erdogan sunk prospects for a renewal of Turkish ties with Israel.
Immediately after he took office 10 years ago, Erdogan began systematically downgrading Turkey’s strategic alliance with Israel. This process, which began gradually and accelerated after Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections, reached its peak in 2010.
In May 2010, Erdogan sponsored the pro-Hamas flotilla to Gaza whose aim was to undermine Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of the terrorist-controlled Gaza coast. The flotilla’s flagship, theMavi Marmara, was controlled by the al-Qaida-aligned IHH organization. Its passengers included terrorists who, armed with iron bars, knives and other weaponry tried to kill IDF naval commandos when they boarded the Gaza-bound ship to enforce the blockade. In the ensuing battle, the commandos killed nine IHH terrorists.
Erdogan used the incident on the Mavi Marmara as a means of ending what remained of Turkey’s ties to Israel. For three years, he insisted that he would only restore full diplomatic relations if Israel ended its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, apologized for …read more