Turkish deputy prime minister denies remarks on 'Jewish diaspora'
ANKARA / KIRIKKALE
Deputy Prime Minister BeşirAtalay’s press office said in a written statement that the minister had not used such an expression. DHA photo
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has denied media reports that he blamed the Jewish diaspora for the Gezi unrest.
Atalay’s press office said in a written statement today that the minister had not used such an expression.
"In his speech [Deputy PM Atalay] has never intended, uttered or indicated anything to offend Jewish citizens of Turkey or Jewish communities around the world," the statement said.
“There are some circles that are jealous of Turkey’s growth. They are all uniting, on one side the Jewish diaspora,” Cihan News Agency quoted him in a video as saying on July 1 in the Central Anatolian province of Kırıkkale in an earlier report.
Before the statement from Atalay’s office, the Turkish Jewish community issued a press release on its website, saying they were trying to obtain more information about the remarks with regard to the details, meaning and content.
“We would like to express our concern that all Jews around the world, including Turkish Jews, may become the target because of this sort of generalization in almost every situation,” the statement read.
Atalay also reportedly repeated government claims that the international media had played a big role in “the conspiracy” and had led the unrest “well.” “The ones trying to block the way of Great Turkey will not succeed,” he said.
“There are some circles that are jealous of Turkey’s growth. They are all uniting, on one side the Jewish diaspora. You saw the foreign media’s attitude during the Gezi Park incidents; they bought it and started broadcasting immediately, without doing an evaluation of the [situation],” Atalay is heard in a video shooting also seen by the Daily News.
The Gezi protests started May 27, triggered by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s plan to remove a unique green area, Gezi Park, next to the iconic Taksim Square to build a replica of Ottoman artillery barracks and mall.
A sit-in by peaceful protesters turned into mass protests across the country with nearly 2 million people in 79 of the 81 Turkish cities attending, according to Interior Ministry estimates.
The heavy crackdown by the police with tear gas, water cannons and violent tools drew reaction from local citizens and the world. In total, four people – three protesters and a police officer – have been killed and more than 7,000 people injured, according to the Turkish Medical Association. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly blamed an “interest rate lobby” and the world media for boosting the protests.