By Prof. Mahmut Esat Ozan. Published in Turkish Forum - November 16, 2003.
The dastardly attack perpetrated against two of Istanbul's renown Jewish Synagogues is, without a doubt, the work of heartless Islamist terrorists. It does not make any difference whether they are of domestic or of foreign origin. Their work has been utterly despicable. There are those who sent their 'deep condolences' to the Turkish authorities, from afar such as: France, Germany, the Vatican, and Scandinavian countries, expressing their sorrow for the great loss of life for their 'Jewish brothers and sisters' with crocodile tears streaming down their cheeks, while they are also silently condoning the actions of the terrorists for having dealt a blow to Zionism.
From what I learned about this subject I am convinced that this hypocritical view of some of these people is unpardonable. The ugly head of anti-Semitism is very visible in most of those societies. Jewish cemeteries and Synagogues are frequently desecrated in their midst, while some of their officials openly pronounce anti-Israeli statements in front of the international Media. In fact, it looks like anti-Semitism is a fashionable pass time in France and Germany today.
It is said that anyone who is against Zionism, is simply anti-Semitic. Here's the justification I found, for that notion: If you allow all peoples of the world, and all religions, including for example the Catholicism of the Italians, Irish and French, or the autocratic role of the Greek Orthodox, and the imperious persona of the Armenian Mother Church, and if you add to that all the Muslim countries - there are 52 of them - to have their own national movements, but at the same time refuse to give this very same right to the Jews, you must be called anti-Semitic. Even though the two concepts may not appear to be always identical, it is a fact that anti-Zionism is directed against the political realization of an ages-old ideal, the establishment of the State of Israel.
The State of Israel was recognized by the Turkish government as early as in its inception in 1948.Turkey was the first Muslim country to give this recognition. Furthermore the Turkish Jewish friendship goes back to the Fifteenth century. It was the Ottoman Turkish Sultan Beyazid II who had invited the refugees from the Spanish Inquisition and did so by transporting them anywhere in his realm, free of charge.
Turks and Jews fought together against the Allied invasion of the Gallipoli campaign and during the great War of Independence right after that. Yet the Turkish Islamist terrorists, the product of the same once-magnanimous people, were eager to get their name in print as the executors of the tragic event of November 15, 2003. That arrogant and racist bunch of religious fanatics are the boastful members of the "Great Eastern Islamic Raiders" front (IBDA-C). What a shameful group of individuals whose allegiance is to religion, bypassing their national honor as Turkish citizens.
A GENUINE ACT OF CONDOLENCE
Among all the sentiments of condolences arriving to the Turkish capital none was more genuine and sincere than the one which was offered to the Jewish and Muslim citizens of Turkey. It was stated by the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Dr. Rauf Denktas. He said in his beautiful message the following:
"My dear fatherland, my Turkiye, many a time you have joined our tears when we were suffering injustices. You have not forsaken us even in our most difficult days. You have supported us, by doing your best to make us live in happiness, to make us remain in freedom and have a smile on our faces. You have helped us not to be buried in common graves dug by our enemies. You were there always for us. We are in your debt. Naturally, the bitter feeling of hurt and anger belong to us Turkish Cypriots also. So, in conclusion let me send my fatherland and to my inseparable brethren my deepest sympathy and condolences.
WHAT DO THE TURKS AND THE JEWS HAVE IN COMMON?
Because the occasion has arisen, I shall tell my readers a persistent theory I had in my head for a long time. My essay "An Open Letter to the World" was distributed to 180,000 (at that time) subscriber-readers around the world. It was me imploring to the world that it should consider to be more sensitive to the needs of the Jewish people in general and to the state of Israel in particular. Following this publication I received many comments on it, some good, but mostly nasty letters from around the world. I was glad that the majority of the letters were not from Turkey. I was not the chairman of the editorial board then, but I would write a similar essay again under my new title in a flash.
Because it is most beneficial for Turkey, my closeness to Israel and to Jewish people made me decide to accept any and all unsavory comments. These negative remarks and criticism originated from everywhere on the planet. There is a tone of hatred heard in the shrill voices of the detractors of the Turks as they attack. A notion exists that the Turks are as unacceptable as the Jews have been throughout human history. Because of the tolerance and the magnanimity Turks have shown in the past centuries for the Jewish people, they too have been cursed with a similar unfair stamp of disapproval.
What should make every Turks' blood boil is the fact that neither the despicable Ayatollah Khomeini of not-so-distant past, nor Idi Amin, nor Pol Pot, nor Yasser Arafat have had more negative things written and spoken about them than the Jews and the Turks. Consequently, it is my humble opinion that we Turks also are hated just like the Jewish people are. One of the reasons for this mutual common hatred stems from our ancestral closeness and cooperation with the Jewish people, which started toward the end of the 15th century and still continues today.
So, what this means is that Jews and Turks have been the "fellow invokees of evil and curse." Therefore, this negative feeling towards them is not too hard to fathom. It has been created by those who have implored upon God to send evil or injury down on both of our peoples, Turks and Jews, thus eternally excoriating them in like fashion. Turks were anguished and tormented at the hands of Armenian, and Kurdish terrorists for at least a generation. Terrorism inflicted upon them by the Armenian ASALA assassins and the Marxist Leninist PKK murderers resulted with the deaths of over 38,000 innocent victims.
In conclusion, we can say that chances are Turks and Jews will have to live with that damnation or curse till the end of time. Their history goes back several thousand years. Both Turks and the Jews are strong, they can take it. After all, it's not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog that counts. I hope that the Turkish-Israeli association grows to its maximum apogee and lasts for a long time to come. Because, as mentioned earlier, this is a crucial association and it is beneficial for both parties involved.