Pro-gov’t daily targets Turkish journalist in antisemitic attack

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The pro-government Takvim daily yesterday launched an anti-Semitic attack against Karel Valansi, a Turkish journalist and foreign policy analyst, in a report critical of İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu.

The report, headlined “[İmamoğlu] shows animosity to a Turk but great politeness to a Jew,” accused İmamoğlu of threatening a person who claimed he was next of kin of a veteran during a ceremony earlier that day. It said İmamoğlu “showed too much respect to a Jewish journalist working in Turkey.”

Takvim’s report was referring to an exchange between İmamoğlu and Valansi on Twitter. In a tweet commemorating the 106th anniversary of the Turkish victory at Gallipoli, İmamoğlu mentioned different ethnic and religious groups that he said made the victory possible but did not mention the Jews. In response, Valansi said, “We are once again not invited to the wedding.”

İmamoğlu then replied to Valansi and said she was right. “Just like our Jewish citizens, people from all religions and identities who fought at Gallipoli for our independence are noble citizens and owners of this homeland,” he added.

In a series of tweets Louis Fishman, a history professor at Brooklyn College in New York, criticized Takvim’s piece. “I’m tired of the mantra used by so many of the Islamist press, ‘we are not against Jews, just Israel’,” Fishman said. “Here in the tweet we see the ugly sentiments that Jews have no place in Turkey, they are not Turkish, and if they raise their head, they will be knocked down.”

Fishman said, “ And worse, it also describes Karel “as a Jew working in Turkey.” What? Literally the newspaper just excluded her from her being Turkish, as if she is a foreigner living in the city, with no history, family, language, or connections beyond just living there (living off the Turks).”

Takvim has published anti-Semitic content in the past, too. Ergün Diler, one of its columnists, frequently writes articles about global conspiracies. In a piece titled “Büyük Oyun (the Great Game)”, Diler last year claimed the Jews are using the COVID-19 pandemic to target China, which Jewish capital grew in the first place.

According to Fishman Takvim’s approach shouldn’t be brushed off as being the sentiment of only Islamists. “There’s a historical context to this,” Fishman said.

Other pro-government outlets frequently resort to anti-Semitic rhetoric as well. In an article Yusuf Kaplan of the Yeni Şafak daily described America as a guinea pig for Jewish power “from which the Jews produced and legitimized their hegemony around the world. Jews have been using America as a guinea pig for nearly a century: there is no such people as the American people, there is no such state as the American state.”

Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu published a list of US President Joe Biden’s Jewish cabinet members with their backgrounds last month, masking their story by making reference to some Israeli-based outlets.

Source: Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF)

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