Jewish leaders speak of fear, concern after attacks
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
This photo shows the synagogue in the Aegean city of İzmir. Herman says Jews are still gripped by unease while visiting their places of worship. Hürriyet photoTurkey’s Jewish minority has lived in fear ever since the first attack against a synagogue in Istanbul in 1986, community leader Sami Herman said yesterday in remarks given to a parliamentary sub-commission investigating terrorist attacks and violent incidents in recent years.
“Terror creates a wave of fear that continues despite the passing years,” Herman said, emphasizing that Jews were still gripped by unease while visiting their places of worship.
A gunman killed 22 people in a synagogue in 1986, while suicide bombers detonated explosive-laden trucks at two synagogues in 2003, claiming 23 lives.
Herman praised Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for being the first Turkish Prime Minister to visit a synagogue, and thanked him for the government’s financial and moral support to the victims, as well as for reconstruction after the 2003 attacks, which were blamed on al-Qaeda.
Herman also said “words are not innocent” and urged the government to draw up legislation to punish hate crimes.
The community’s deputy leader, İshak İbrahimzadeh, told the panel that Jews had increased security so much that they were virtually injecting fear into the subconscious’ of children, by having them to go through two security doors while entering synagogues.
Commission member Mehmet Metiner of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) extended an apology to the Jewish community. “We weren’t able to protect you. I don’t know if we can look you in the eye. I know that we marginalized you. I apologize to you as a deputy of Turkey,” he said.
Turkey’s Jewish community was most recently disturbed by a shampoo T.V. advertisement that featured Adolf Hitler. The ad was eventually taken off air earlier this week after a public outcry.