Friday, July 18, 2014

18-Jul-14: Before holidaying in Turkey, some messages to bear in mind

Israeli consulate in Turkey under assault last night [Image Source]
We happen to have warm feelings for the Turks and their gorgeous country. But it is impossible to ignore some of the very ugly events unfolding there.

Bulent Yildirim, a lawyer, is the head of a large Turkish not-for-profit organization that provides humanitarian relief in Libya, Pakistan,, Russia, China, Kashmir, Darfur, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Somalia, Mauritania, Chile, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Greece, Crimea and Haiti. Speaking in the wake of the IDF's measures against the Gaza regime, he says (as quoted in today):
“Turkish Jews will pay dearly” for Israel’s actions... “Israel is acting like a spoiled child... Jewish tourists, don’t dare come to Turkey. Tonight and tomorrow we are going to hold a different kind of protest, we do not have patience anymore... The Zionists are putting the future of the Jews in danger, we can not hold our youngsters anymore”...
The organization at the head of which Yildirim stands is called IHH. It took a prominent role in the news some years back: see "28-May-10: Who's behind those "humanitarian" Gaza-bound ships?" and "4-Oct-12: With humanitarians like these, who needs militant barbarians? Revisiting the Mavi Marmara".

Other voices in Turkey need to be heard in these challenging days. For instance, that of İbrahim Melih Gökçek, another lawyer who has served as mayor of Ankara (population 4.6 million) for two decades, tweeting about the consulate of Israel (see photo above):
“It will be taken… The despicable murderers’ Consulate has to be kicked out of Turkey. We do not want an Embassy in Turkey of the murderers!”
The price of discount flights from Israel to Turkey
may yet fall further 
Another of the mayor's tweets this morning describes Israel as "one hundred times worse than Hitler". There's a context to this: Wikipedia quotes him publicly praising Hitler on earlier occasions.

Two days ago, as notes, Yeni Akit, a local newspaper affiliated with Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called on Turkey's Jewish community to apologize for "the casualties of Israel’s operation in Gaza".
In an open letter to Turkey’s chief rabbi, correspondent Faruk Köse wrote, “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!”
We expect the ancient Jewish community of Turkey will be drawing conclusions. How about the tourists?

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