Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently delivered a blistering speech in Istanbul, calling Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian Arabs “racist and discriminatory.” He also said that the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip “has no place in humanity.”
Meanwhile, the Jewish population of Turkey – which has for decades been exposed to discrimination, as well as various forms of pressures and hostility – continues to decline. According to the 1927 census, there were 81,392 Jews in the country. Today, there are fewer than 15,000. And the situation is only worsening. Approximately 6,200 Jewish citizens are preparing to leave Turkey, according to a recent report by Forward news outlet.
“Due to deaths and emigration, there are now 450 fewer Jews [in Turkey] this year,” wrote Mois Gabay, a columnist for the Turkish-Jewish weekly Şalom in October. He said that this phenomenon is due not only to the aging community and decreasing birthrate, but also to “the traumas that every Jewish generation has endured” in Turkey.
Avlaremoz, a Turkish news website that reports on Jewish-related issues, conducted an online survey in which readers were asked to choose “the most anti-Semitic incidents of 2016.” The outlet noted that “last year in Turkey was a year filled with anti-Semitism.”
by Uzay Bulut