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Friday, January 15, 2010

ADL Continues to Voice Concern About Anti-Jewish and Anti-Israel Climate in Turkey

New York, NY, January 13, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today renewed its concern that Turkish society is becoming increasingly and openly hostile to Jews and Israel – with harmful statements by government officials and hateful depictions in the mass media.

"We continue to be concerned about a new environment in Turkey which permits and even encourages extreme expressions regarding Jews and Israel," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "We cannot ignore this new atmosphere in which distorted views of Israel and Jews are freely expressed and made to seem acceptable."

ADL wrote a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan citing his government's "harshly critical statements" -- and his own remarks during a recent a visit to Lebanon -- as a case in point.  Mr. Erdogan condemned Israel's actions in Gaza, accused the Jewish State of threatening to undermine "global peace," and called for the U.N. Security Council to consider sanctions against Israel.

The League's letter also pointed to two recent television dramas which portrayed Israelis and the Israeli military as inherently evil and conniving.  The recent television series "Valley of the Wolves" reportedly featured Israeli agents as baby snatchers.

"While we have celebrated Turkey's history of coexistence with Jews and the protection Turkish society provides for its Jewish community, we cannot ignore this new atmosphere and its potential consequences," said Mr. Foxman.  "We respectfully urge the Turkish government to speak out directly to reject anti-Semitism and incendiary demonizing depictions of Israel and Israelis, and to reiterate Turkey's support for its Jewish community."

ADL raised similar concerns in a letter to Mr. Erdogan in October 2009.