Official praises Jewish citizens’ role in founding of Republic of Turkey
AA photoA senior Turkish official has praised historical ties between the peoples of Turkey and Jewish citizens of the country, describing their relationship as “a unity of destiny,” and underlined Jewish citizens’ contribution in founding of the Republic of Turkey.
Remarks by Parliament Deputy Speaker Ahmet Aydın came late on March 15, as he delivered a speech at the opening of an exhibition on Jewish officers who lost their lives while serving in the Ottoman Army on the Gallipoli front during World War I.
“As much as they are a story of heroism, the Gallipoli Battles are also a story of solidarity in which hundreds of thousands of Ottoman citizens who were of different faiths and ethnic identities and gathered under a common homeland denominator have been in a unity of destiny,” said Aydın, a deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“It has displayed that all groups constituting our society are fundamental elements of these territories and that this homeland actually belongs to everybody who can sacrifice his life for it,” Aydın said.
The exhibition, arranged by the Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews, will be hosted at a cultural premise of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara until March 22.
“No doubt, among Ottoman citizens who went to die for their homeland without ever thinking, there were our Jewish citizens who undertook important duties in the foundation of our Republic and who are also an indivisible part of our society today,” Aydın said.
Turkey’s chief rabbi, İshak Haleva, also attended the opening of the exhibition. On this occasion, he voiced deep sadness over the March 13 suicide car bomb attack which killed at least 35 people in the capital city of Ankara.
“As a man of religion, perhaps I should never use the word of ‘hate’ and never let this word be used if possible. But when the issue is ‘hating combatting,’ I feel like worshipping this word,” Haleva said.
For Turkey, the Battles of Gallipoli that raged from April 1915 until January 1916 is said to have given birth to a national consciousness and marked a key step in the creation of modern Turkey as the Ottoman Empire crumbled.
Many of the commanders who fought in the grinding, almost nine-month battle -considered one of the Allies’ most significant defeats- would play a key role in the founding of the Republic of Turkey, including Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.