Mustafa Akyol on Anti-Semitism In Turkey

Mr. Akyol wrote two columns on Anti-Semitism in Turkey recently. There are also other features related to Turkish society.. Have a look…

Anti-Semitism In Turkey: Myths and Facts (I)

[Originally published in Hürriyet Daily News] My column neighbor Burak Bekdil was writing about anti-Semitism in Turkey yesterday. And he was presenting not just a stance against this wicked trend, but also a blame he carefully put on one specific camp in Turkey. He, as you would have expected if you read him regularly, was accusing the "Islamists." He wrote: "But is the anti-Israeli/Jewish/Semitic mood exclusive to conservative/devout Turks? Certainly not. Only the nature is different. Secular Turks try — probably unsuccessfully — to distinguish between good and bad Jews and are programmed to think that anti-Semitism is a bad thing ‘even at times like this.’ They can be accused of sin of omission, but that’s it. For the Islamist/mildly Islamist/conservative Turk this is a case of ‘guilt by association.’ They won’t even try to find a dividing line between ‘good and bad Jews.’"

Anti-Semitism in Turkey: Myths and Facts (II)

[Originally published in Hürriyet Daily News] During the final decades of the Ottoman Empire, three different solutions were devised by statesmen and intellectuals in order to save the sinking boat: Ottomanism, Islamism, and Turkism. The first one was also the earliest, which started with the Reform Edict of 1839. It was a reaction to the winds of modern nationalism that started to influence the Christian nations of the empire such as the Greeks, Serbs, or Bulgarians. "If we emphasize the equality and civil rights of all our citizens," the Ottoman elite thought, "then we can keep them from revolting against us." But when Ottomanism proved not to be that attractive to the Christian peoples of the Empire, Islamism became more popular. Here the idea was to emphasize brotherhood between the Muslim elements such as Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Albanians, Circassians, etc. Its champion was Sultan Abdülhamid II, who ruled from 1876 to 1909.

Should I interview Adnan Oktar? Adam Rutherford: And if I go to Istanbul, what questions should I ask the father of Islamic creationism?

The Political Language of Turkey

[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News] Western policy makers or analysts, and especially American ones, need to keep something in mind about Turkey which they often fail to see: The political language of this country is different from theirs. Here, emotions play a bigger role and political leaders hardly do the deliberation on "wording" that is a crucial matter in their own political culture. You can see this emotional and inflammatory rhetoric not just in the politics of Turkey, but also in the daily life of ordinary Turks. In Turkish films and soap operas, lovers very often yell at each other saying things like, "I hate you," "You are disgusting," or even "I want to kill you." Next day, or even the next hour, the same couple shows up again in a Romeo and Juliet mode. The TV’s might be exaggerating things, you might think, but they are not. Marriages or premarital relationships in this country are often full of nasty words followed by love fests, and then nasty words again. I am sure it must be like that to a degree in most cultures, but here, it is pretty much over the top.

Where Does Turkish Anti-Semitism Come From?

By Jenny White on Jews in Turkey

From Ihsan Dagi’s column (click here for full essay):

The latest row over the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the ensuing public reaction in Turkey has raised questions about the rise of anti-Semitism in Turkey. The recent rise of anti-Semitism is in fact related to the activities and ideology of neo-nationalist (Ulusalci) groups, some of which are associated with the Ergenekon case…

A near witch-hunt of people of Jewish origin was started in early 2004 with the publication of a series of books on Sabbateanism… The profiles of these authors are indeed interesting: Küçük, who accuses almost everybody of having Jewish origin, was arrested last month accused of being part of the Ergenekon gang and later released…

92 Percent of Turkish Schoolbooks Have Human Rights Problems

By Jenny White on Nationalism

A collaborative project of the History Foundation (TV) and the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TIHV) has resulted in a report entitled “Human Rights in School Books”. Only 11 books “cleared”. This was the second time that school books were scanned for problematic passages. 139 primary school books (from year 1 to 8 ) were examined for militarist, nationalist, unscientific, gender biased and racist passages.

Mizgin, Mizgin, Mizgin

By Jenny White on Kurds in Turkey

DIYARBAKIR – New mobiles phones for the first time featuring Kurdish as a language option have been an instant hit. The Kurdish mobile phones, put on the market by TTN Mobile, feature Kurdish as a language option, with Turkish as the only alternative… [An employee, Ugur] Akar said the firm had manufactured 500 mobile phones in the initial stage and manufacturing would increase in line with demand…

Hate speech and racism: Turkey’s ‘untouchables’on the rise

By Yavuz Baydar

The ghost of hatred and paranoia is as well as anytime before. It is obvious. As long as you are unwilling or unable to accomplish major changes, you are doomed to go on facing the same troubles.

Statistics on Violence Against Women

By Jenny White on violence against women in TUrkey and Europe

[According to a national study “Domestic Violence against Women in Turkey” carried out by the General Directorate of the Status of Women (KSGM),] 14 percent of women said it was sometimes acceptable for a husband to beat his wife, and 64 percent of women who had been abused did not seek help because they felt it was not a big problem. Some 32 percent of women reported that problems with their husbands’ families were the major cause of conflict and abuse in their relationships…

Renaturalization of Nazım Hikmet

By ORAL ÇALIŞLAR on Turkish Press Review

Nazım Hikmet is still a “traitor” in the eyes of some groups. This is because there are traitor production centers. Nazım was one of those who were attacked most frequently by these centers.

Is there Judeophobia in Turkey? by MÜMTAZ’ER TÜRKÖNE


Judeophobia is a sort of racism. If you feel hatred for human beings because of some characteristic they have genetically inherited which they cannot change, this is called racism.

Who is afraid of Turkey’s Jews?

By EMRE AKÖZ on Turkish Press Review

Two large anti-Semitic events have taken place in Turkey. One of these was the Thrace Events, which took place during 1934 (I draw your attention to the fact that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was alive and well at the time).

Documentary on the work of Eren Kiskin: A Turkish human rights lawyer who fights on behalf of oppressed and brutalized women..

By Mick Hall

I have been criticized by some for being to sympathetic to the AK Party which governs Turkey, readers must make up their own minds about this, but I want to make it clear this blog is not here to propagandize a party line, whether it be of the left, right, or center. If any government carries out policies that improve the lives of working class people, whether in town or country, whatever their motives, I am all for that. Having said that I am far to long in the tooth not to be able to see the difference between powder puff government propaganda and actuality.

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