Israel Weighs Partial Arms Embargo of Turkey

…The latest episode in the ongoing drama of Israeli-Turkish relations could be a partial arms embargo, according to Turkish media, quoting Jane’s Defence Weekly. Now, say reports, SIBAT —  the body that handles foreign defense assistance and export procurement and contracts for Israel’s defense ministry — will review Turkish requests for buying defense systems case by case; Turkey has expressed interest in a […]

Sour Times

I agree, Claire Berlinski’s essay in World Affairs Journal, “Turkish Delight: A Sour Delicacy”, IS good! Wonderfully written and spot-on. I never planned to live in Istanbul. Like so many things in my life, it just wound up that way. From my window I see massive and glittering cruise ships setting sail on the Golden […]

Shalom and the Microphone Mafia

…The daughter of a Jewish cantor from Saarbruecken in western Germany, [85-year-old Esther] Bejarano grew up in a musical home studying piano until the Nazis came to power and tore her family apart. Bejarano was deported to Auschwitz, where she became a member of the girls’ orchestra, playing the accordion every time trains full of […]

“If I were a happy man, I wouldn’t be a writer.”

Click here for Kai Strittmacher’s account of Jewish life in Istanbul and interviews with the novelist Mario Levi and the industrialist Ishak Alaton about being Jewish in Turkey. Both are men whose families have lived in Turkey for more than 500 years. An excerpt: …Mario Levi has called his book “Istanbul Was a Fairy-Tale.” One […]

Retaliation 101

One newspaper captioned the picture “the height of humiliation” [Image: Lior Mizrahi/Israel Hayom]. Image taken from BBC. (click here for full article) Excerpt: …Israel and Turkey — powerful non-Arab states in an overwhelmingly Arab region_ have forged close military and economic ties in recent decades. For Israel, the Turks have given Israel a rare ally […]

Valley of The Wolves, Take Two

Yigal Schleifer notes the similarity between the very popular anti-PKK, anti-American film series Kurtlar Vadisi (Valley of the Wolves) and the new anti-Israel series, Ayrilik (Separation) (see my earlier blog with a link to the scene mentioned below) and their links to rising nationalism in Turkey. For Yigal’s full essay, click here. Excerpt: A few […]

Poll By Jewish Community Underscores Intolerance

More results from the poll I mentioned in my September 30 post, “Perception Study on Views on Different Identities and Judaism”. It was sponsored by Turkey’s Jewish Rabbinical Foundation and supported by the European Commission. The poll measured attitudes toward different others (non-Muslims, Kurds, Alevis, atheists). The fact that it was sponsored by Turkey’s Jewish […]

The Problem Is Still Intolerance

The newspaper Radikal today reported the results of a poll sponsored by Turkey’s Jewish Rabbinical Foundation regarding attitudes toward different others (non-Muslims, Kurds, Alevis, atheists) in Turkey (albeit without much information about who conducted it or how, so these results are not totally reliable. Nevertheless, they fit with what other polls have indicated). The results […]

Government Meets With Minority Religous Leaders

Photo from Hurriyet The AKP government has been long on rights-related rhetoric and short on follow-through. Does the AKP’s recent flurry of conciliatory meetings with Kurdish and minority religious leaders mean that long-promised reforms will finally occur? Or is this simply more inconsequential hand-shaking to appease the EU audience? (click here) …Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan […]

US Commission on Religious Freedom 2009 Report On Turkey

The 2009 Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom evaluates religious freedom around the world. Thirteen countries are listed as violating religious rights. Turkey is one of 11 countries that are being monitored for “some violations”. (click here to see the list and to download the report — click on ‘Turkey’) The […]