|AJC Urges Turkish Government to Stop Spreading Conspiracy Theories Against Jews|
July 2, 2013 -- New York – AJC warned today that continuing accusations by senior
Turkish officials claiming that world Jewry is behind the protests against the government
are totally baseless and nothing less than blatant calls to incitement. “Incendiary
words can have tragic consequences,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
The latest government charge came from Deputy Prime
Minister Beşir Atalay, who accused foreign powers and Jews of encouraging the protests
that began in Istanbul at the end of May.
“There are some circles that are jealous of
Turkey’s growth. They are all uniting, on one side the Jewish diaspora,” said Atalay,
the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported. “You
saw the foreign media’s attitude during the Gezi Park incidents. They bought it
and started broadcasting immediately, without doing an evaluation of the [case].”
Atalay also said the international media had a big role in "the conspiracy."
Last month, Prime Minister Erdogan blamed the
protests on “the interest-rate lobby,” a thinly-veiled term that in the past
has been associated in the Turkish media with an alleged conspiracy of Jewish
businessmen. Atalay’s reference to “International media” carries similar
sinister connotations of conspiracy theories about Jews.
"Let’s be clear. Prime Minister Erdogan is
responsible for setting this dangerous, indeed toxic, tone,” said Harris. He
urged Turkey’s current political leadership and supportive media to “end the conspiracy
peddling and bigotry mongering.”
AJC sent a letter three weeks ago to Turkey’s
ambassador to the United States, expressing concern about Erdogan’s “delusional
prejudices” regarding Jews.
“Whatever protests and opposition Prime Minister
Erdogan may face domestically, they are home grown,” Harris wrote. “To blame
such disturbances on external forces, and to resort to age-old Jewish
conspiracy canards, is pure cowardice and runs the risk of incitement. [Prime
Minister] Erdogan should be called to task by responsible world leaders for
such crude tactics rather than his facing up to the reality that a significant
segment of the Turkish public is challenging his increasingly authoritarian