Boycott calls against Turkish-Jewish writer prompt anti-Semitism row
The 57-year-old Levi has published more than 10 novels so far.Calls for a boycott of Israeli products circulating on social media have been extended to novels penned by Mario Levi, an acclaimed Turkish writer of Jewish descent, drawing criticism of overt anti-Semitism.
The author of many awarded books, including “Istanbul was a Fairy Tale,” expressed his sorrow over the Israeli assault on Gaza and regret about the campaign.
“Words are not enough to tell how much the tragic war in Gaza and the death of innocent children is afflicting me with pain. I was meant to experience this too in the country that I love to my bones,” Levi said.
Levi also criticized the one-sided coverage of the events by the Turkish media, arguing that such reports could lead people to such reaction.
“It is impossible not to have a moral approach on what’s happening [in Gaza]. However, we can discuss a lot of things if we manage to be more tolerant and have more restraint,” he said.
Calls to boycott his works were met with strong criticism as well, including from Culture Minister Ömer Çelik, who described them as a “hate crime.”
“The reaction shown against those who murder victims in Gaza is a right. But those who are trying to turn this rightful reaction into a reaction against Jewish people in general, and Turkish citizens of Jewish descent in particular, has nothing to do with a right,” Çelik said.
Former football star-cum-deputy Hakan Şükür also slammed the attacks against Levi. “If people launch a campaign to boycott a writer like Mario Levi for his beliefs, this is a hate crime to say the least,” Şükür tweeted.
The 57-year-old Levi has published more than 10 novels so far.