On the heels of the Davos throwdown between the prime minister of Turkey and Israeli President Shimon Peres comes this piece from yesterday’s Washington Post warning of Turkey’s gradual drift from its history of liberal democracy. In listing the various manifestations of the trend, Soner Cagaptay makes this observation about rising Turkish anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is not hard-wired into Turkish society — rather its seeds are being spread by the political leadership. Erdogan has pumped up such sentiments by suggesting Jewish culpability for the conflict in Gaza and alleging that Jewish-controlled media outlets were misrepresenting the facts. Moreover, on Jan. 6, while demanding remorse for Israel’s Gaza operations, Erdogan said to Turkish Jews, "Did we not accept you in the Ottoman Empire?" Turkey’s tiny, well-integrated Jewish community is being threatened: Jewish businesses are being boycotted, and instances of violence have been reported. These are shameful developments in a land that has provided a home for Jews since 1492, when the Ottomans opened their arms to Jewish people fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. The Ottoman sultans must be spinning in their graves.