January 23, 2009 - 14:37 AMTPanARMENIAN.Net
- Five leading Jewish organizations in the United States sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling on him to "urgently address the current wave of anti-Semitism
" in Turkey.
The letter was signed by the leaders of the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith International, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
"Turkey rightly prides itself on many centuries of coexistence with Jews. But today, our Jewish friends in Turkey feel besieged and threatened," the organizations said.
"Billboards around Istanbul are full of anti-Jewish propaganda posters. The door of a Jewish-owned shop near Istanbul University was covered with a poster that said, 'Do not buy from here, since this shop is owned by a Jew.' The defacing of an Izmir synagogue has brought about the temporary closure of all but one of that city's synagogues," the letter said.
The organizations pointed out to a connection between "the inflammatory denunciation of Israel by Turkish officials and the rise of anti-Semitism".
They said they disagree with the Turkish government's views of the situation in Gaza and with some of Erdogan's harsh statements. "We should certainly agree, however, that such differences of opinion do not justify any display of anti-Semitism in Turkey or elsewhere," the letter said.
In 2005, Erdogan received an award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of Turkish diplomats who saved Jews during the Holocaust. He strongly condemned anti-Semitism as he accepted the the award presented by Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
Erdogan said last Friday that Israel should be barred from the United Nations while it ignores the body's calls to stop fighting in Gaza.
"How is such a country, which totally ignores and does not implement resolutions of the UN Security Council, allowed to enter through the gates of the UN (headquarters)?" he said.