Photo via presstv.ir
With the power Turkey holds in modern politics it’s particularly disturbing to see the nation’s growing anti-Semitic attitude. Paired with the rapid rise of ISIS recruitment throughout the country, Turkish Jews are in a dangerous position. So why does European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor stay silent instead of lobbying for their fate?
It doesn’t take a political analyst to understand what is happening in Turkey. Erdogan’s rise to power has been a rapid trajectory, marked with anti-Semitic speeches, religious and authoritarian policy, as well as strong overtures towards partnerships with Iran and Russia. What was once a nation that reveled in personal freedom and close ties to western democracies is now a climate where minorities must question- are we in danger?
The Islamization of Turkey might not come as a surprise to some, but it’s truly alarming how quickly the nation has become the biggest source of foreign recruits for ISIS. And how little political resistance that has been met with, though Turkey is a NATO member.
“ ‘There are clearly recruitment centers being set up in Ankara and elsewhere in Turkey, but the government doesn’t seem to care,’ Aaron Stein, a fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute think tank, told The New York Times. ‘It seems their hatred for Bashar al-Assad and their overly nuanced view of what radical Islam is has led to a very short- and narrow-sighted policy that has serious implications.’ ”
This policy, along with the recent slew of anti-Semitic attacks- including the murder of a prominent Jewish couple and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comparison of Israel to Hitler- has left the Jewish population in an alarming position.
Which leads me to question, where is their support network? As a member community of the European Jewish Congress (EJC), Turkish Jews are entitled to diplomatic efforts by EJC President Moshe Kantor.
But Kantor is a Russian oligarch, whose ties to the Kremlin keep him politically indebted. And as Russia strengthens its ties with Turkey, avoiding sanctions through trade agreements, any diplomatic pressure from Kantor- regarding ISIS or anti-Semitism -would endanger his position with Putin. So he remains silent as Turkish Jews suffer.
It seems to me to be a striking conflict of interest, and one that puts Turkish Jewry in a perilous position. The fact that Moshe Kantor holds so serious a position is a threat to the Jewish people, putting his personal commitment to the Kremlin before that of the Jews he has pledged to protect.