With Israel at war, Turkey’s Jewish community faces new threats, old concerns
A month after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, Israeli forces are mounting a ground offensive in Gaza as a bombing campaign in the strip continues to raise the civilian death toll among Palestinians, many of which are children.
Throughout, Israel has drawn increasing condemnation for its military response and, as in past conflicts, some protest movements have linked or associated Jewish communities around the world with Israel’s actions. Turkey is no exception.
On Oct. 28, a synagogue in İzmir was defaced with red graffiti that read “Murderer Israel”. The same week, a book seller in İstanbul hung a sign reading “No Jews Allowed” over his shop. This followed statements by an AKP Samsun city council member who sympathized with Adolf Hitler and was neither officially reprimanded by his own party, nor by the city’s CHP mayor.
Such actions have long been defined as antisemitic. Amid a rising expression of anti-Israel or anti-Jewish sentiments in public spaces, members of Turkey’s small Jewish community told us the state was taking more security measures to safeguard their institutions and meeting places, though incidents involving hate speech remained unpunished.