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POLITICS > Jewish youth leaving Turkey due to political strains

JERUSALEM – Hürriyet Daily News

Young Turkish Jews are increasingly deciding to emigrate from the country, prompted by perceptions of rising anti-Semitism and deteriorating relations with Israel, says a community figure

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This photo shows Istanbul’s historic Neve Shalom Synagogue. Association of Turkish Jews in Israel Deputy Chairman Nasim Güveniş says Turkish Jews have sensed a turn for the worse in the atmosphere in recent years. DAILY NEWS photo

This photo shows Istanbul’s historic Neve Shalom Synagogue. Association of Turkish Jews in Israel Deputy Chairman Nasim Güveniş says Turkish Jews have sensed a turn for the worse in the atmosphere in recent years. DAILY NEWS photo

Sevil Erkuş Sevil Erkuş sevil.kucukkosum@hdn.com.tr

The negative atmosphere and deteriorating relationship between Turkey and Israel is putting pressure on the small community of nearly 15,000 Jews in Turkey and prompting young Turkish Jews to emigrate from the country.

Anti-Semitism, triggered by harsh statements from the Turkish government, has led to the migration of hundreds of Jewish youngsters from Turkey to the U.S. or Europe, Nesim Güveniş, deputy chairman the Association of Turkish Jews in Israel, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Oct. 21.

This unease went before the Mavi Marmara incident, and was aggravated by the notorious “one minute” spat between the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos, according to Güveniş.

Peres ‘a man of peace’


“Is [Israeli President Shimon] Peres a man that could be told ‘one minute’? He is known in the world as a man of peace,” Güveniş said, recalling the Davos debate in which Erdoğan accused Peres of "knowing well how to kill" before storming out of the venue.

Güveniş is one of the 80,000 Turkish Jews in Israel who migrated in 1981. His primary reason for migrating was his two children’s unease in the politically tense Turkey of the late 1970s.

“They didn’t want to go to university where leftists or other groups were putting pressure on them to take sides at school. They went to university in Israel and we also had to move again after a couple of years. The first two years in Israel were difficult, and we had to learn the language. But I don’t regret it,” he said.

Güveniş also expressed unease on the remarks of Turkish leaders against Jews, which he says does not contribute to perception of Turkish people. “Look the environment in Turkey at the moment. We are uncomfortable with being ‘othered’ ... I am more Turkish than many. But we couldn’t make them believe it,” he said.

Israeli businessman now hesitate to make new investments in Turkey due to the atmosphere of enmity, Güveniş also noted, contrasting the present day with the past, when Turkey had much stronger relations with Israel.

October/23/2013

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ilker avni

10/24/2013 1:14:13 AM

@Red tail So now your a mind reader,turks defending turkey are a embrassing,embrassing who,you,im not embrassed if a turk defends the motherland,i get a sense of shame when i read comments from people like you,who is not a turk,how then can you speak on behalf of turks.If you are a turk then you are a embrassment.

Geoge McGregor

10/23/2013 11:10:59 PM

Why the Jews are leading the world? How come they out smart ....Turkey for example? Why they are 60 years existing vs 600 years of Turkey existence? How come they have more Novel prices them...Turks? I really asking...why and how come? May be by taking example from Turkey's PM and FM?

Geoge McGregor

10/23/2013 11:03:52 PM

The Jewish people leaving Turkey. Thanks God!..Turkey does not deserve them. Now let see how smart is Turkey when brain is out and Zero Problem mentality is leading this country. History can tell Turkey how empires and countries wend down when Jewish brain is drained. Since Turkey is leading among the nations with Novel prices, I am sure they will solutions...or not.

a shah

10/23/2013 10:41:07 PM

OWL do not worry about the negative economic effect of migration unless the Jews even in Turkey are controlling the economy as they do elsewhere. The economic benefit to them is American financed and Israel-built settlement on stolen Palestinian lands.

Geoge McGregor

10/23/2013 10:34:19 PM

The Jewish people leaving Turkey. Thanks God!..Turkey deserve them any more. So simple. Now let see how smart is Turkey when brain is out and Zero Problem mentality is leading this country. History can tell Turkey how empires and country wend down when Jewish brain is drained. Since Turkey is leading among the nations with Novel prices, they will solutions...or not.

Suhail Shafi

10/23/2013 9:34:30 PM

@ Jim Rebel The comments section has been a bashing board for some time. That includes anti Turkish and anti Muslim comments but also anti and pro AKP.

Landos Landos

10/23/2013 7:35:55 PM

Turkey's governments over the years have done a great job of driving out the 'best and brightest' from Turkey-Greek merchants, Jewish professional people, Armenian small businessmen. They wanted to drive out the 'Others...' and leave Turkey one monolithic nation of ethnic, Sunni Moslem Turks. They have achieved this in large part, and Turkey is now known as a nation of low wage labor workers. Congratulations!

Red Tail

10/23/2013 7:25:57 PM

Jim Rebel. I would argue the oposite. If you read the comments you see that people who think that they defend Turkey by supporting a xenophobic attitude are very common. You see a lot of anti west (i.e. Christianophobia) here. The paradox is that those who write it think that they are "real Turks" defending Turkey, while the real effect is that they embarrass Turkey with their racist attitudes towards Europeans and Christians. I want a Turkey that is open to other countries and cultures.

Red Tail

10/23/2013 7:21:51 PM

anton. It is NOT the same to say that I dont want to live beside a Muslim, as being against Turkey joining EU. Turks and Muslims are humans, Turkey is a country. Very very different.

ivan mezei

10/23/2013 7:03:18 PM

Sam: when things go bad for the Kurds they dont leave only because they believe they ARE home, and to prove that they will kill your soldiers and make your lives miserable. The Jews of Turkey who have been there for many hundreds of years, when they feel that they are being discriminated, leave..to where? Where they feel at home, not just to be tolerated and be told how fortunate they are for the hospitality. They should leave especially if either the government or its people show their hate.
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