Premier of Turkey Pledges Equality for Citizens of All Religions

The Premier of Turkey, General Cemal Gursel, said today that all Turkish citizens are considered “as equal sons of this country, whatever their religion or creed may be.” Addressing a large crowd in the Eastern province of Erzurum, the new head of State pointed out that different religious beliefs could not affect the relations between citizens.

Relations between the new Turkish government and the Jewish community appear to be off on a good start. The Chief Rabbi of Turkey, Raphael Saban, recently presented to the Istanbul Governor General, Refik Tulga, his golden chain and plaque carrying the Ten Commandments which he used to wear at official ceremonies.

The Jewish community of Izmir, the second largest in Turkey, presented a check of 5, 000 liras (approximately $500) to the Treasury, as a contribution in the current drive for the recovery of the Turkish economy. Many Jews have also joined the campaign by donating their wedding gifts.

Contacts between the members of the Jewish communities in Istanbul and Izmir and the new military rulers have become frequent. The authorities have repeatedly told Jewish leaders that they are ready to meet any requirements which the Jewish community may need.

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