Monday, July 26, 2010

Informing the Turkish Public?

A Turkish Jewish association in Israel is attempting to present the Israeli side of the recent rift in relations between Jerusalem and Ankara. From Hurriyet Daily News:
A website from the group, HASTÜRK, at, has been online since July 20 and is attempting to provide news from the Israeli press and official statements made by the Israeli government in the Turkish language.

Rafael Sadi, a spokesman for the organization, said he hoped the initiative would serve the friendship between both countries.

"This idea grew almost 10 years ago due to the anti-Israel attitude in the Turkish press in the wake of the second intifada of 2000. As a Turk and Israeli who was born in Turkey and has been living in Israel for 10 years, that concerned me a lot," Sadi told the Hürriyet Daily News.

"Turkish society has become anti-Israeli within 10 years’ time," he said.

Explaining the main objective of the project, Sadi said: "As people who live in Israel, who speak Turkish and who know Israel very well, it is us who can better explain Israel to Turkish society. It is only us who can understand how deep is the impact and the harm dealt by inaccurate news.”

He said the website would post stories from the Israeli press and Israeli Foreign Ministry statements in Turkish.

"That will be an interesting service for Turkish people who want to see the reality," according to Sadi. "The whole matter is to provide Turkish readers with accurate news without disseminating any hostility and without distorting the facts."

There are almost 100,000 Turkish Jews in Israel and the union has almost 3,000 members.
Turkish press reports and opinion pieces in the wake of the Gaza flotilla incident were indeed quite strong, and some newspapers did run rather sensational headlines. At the same time, anti-Israel sentiments did not simply arise in Turkey in the past ten years with the intifada or the election of the AKP, though it has surely intensified under the party and with increasing international criticism of Israel's policy toward Gaza. For more context here, see my recent article in the Jerusalem Post.

Though most Jews of Turkish descent re-located to Istanbul at various times following the foundation of the Turkish republic, there are approximately 23,000 Turkish Jews in Turkey, most residing in Istanbul.

No comments: