Source: Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS) - Athens, Greece.

3 July  2001


Nick Tanery

Copyright: Hellenic Electronic Center, USA.

The Turkish Embassy at Washington D.C. with the support of its front organization - the Institute of Turkish Studies (I.T.S.) has been running a
well-financed campaign to dupe Jewish Americans into thinking that there is long line of Turkish benevolence towards Jews. In fact, the Turkish Embassy
along with the Turkish lobby - American Turkish Council (ATC) has even recently promoted a high profile fanfare of 500 years of Turco-Jewish

Prof. Vryoni's well reference book "The Turkish State and History: Clio meets the Grey Wolf" has documented a strategic policy dating back to 1980
and implemented by the Turkish Embassy and former Turkish Ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Elekdag. Elekdag financed the I.T.S. to the tune of an initial $
3 million and promoted a dazzling array of academic symposiums and public history displays.

The 1986 Sulemanne display is just one example; the single landmark Jewish University in the U.S. - Yeshiva University hosted week-long conferences on
the Ottoman Jews. The amazing part to this story is that while the Turkish government provided the seed money to start I.T.S., other fronts
established by Elekdag e.g. the American Friends of Turkey (whose board is composed of retired American military officers and former CEO's of defense
contracting firms) procured the necessary funds from patrons like General Electric and General Dynamics to support this whirlwind of Ottoman Jewish
public history - the Turks got the arms merchants to throw into the hat for pro-Turk Propaganda.

Justin Mc Carthy in University of Kentucky has been the sole "historian" nowadays to deny the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide on the
floor of Congress. Most historians shy away from offering an opinion on the Genocide or simply affirm the historical reality that is now recognized by
overwhelming academic opinion. The community of Portland protested a recent public history display in the Portland Art Museum financed by the American
Turkish Council, American Friends of Turkey, and Portland State University's Turkish Studies program - funded directly by the Turkish government.

A reporter from National Public Radio attempted to get an academic opinion on Turkey's genocidal legacy by local historians who all remained mute on
the subject. Instead, the American Turkish Council (ATC) passed on the unlisted phone number of Justin Mc Carthy. Denialist of the Armenian
Genocide and author of "Turkey and the Holocaust"  - a hagiography of how wonderful Turkey was to the Jews. What a paradox!! A denier of one Genocide
distorts the reality of accomplices to another genocide - the Holocaust.

Even though this argument is a complete lie, no Jewish group or individuals have come forward to expose it. The Truth about the real conditions of life
for all minorities under the Ottoman yoke, be they Armenians, Greeks, Arabs, Kurds, Jews, is intentionally distorted and falsified to serve the present strategic interests of Turkey.

Surprisingly, Hellenic scholars and political organizations, by their inaction, have helped perpetuate this myth. Left unchallenged, this often-repeated lies are now accepted as the truth. For those Jews who have a political or economic interest in believing that Turkey was a paradise for Jews, the truth does not matter. Fortunately, there are many open-minded Jews who would be interested in knowing how their kinsmen were really treated by the Turks.

Here are a few facts, so that fair-minded Jews and others do not fall victim to Turkish propaganda. Skipping over centuries of racism, discrimination, harassment and occasional pilferage, thuggery and murder directed against individual Jews and the Jewish community throughout the Ottoman years, I will present here only some highlights of Turkish "hospitality" for Jews in the 20th century:

1) Turkey was an official ally of Germany against France, England, and the U.S. during the World War I.

2) In 1934, the "modern" republic of Turkey adopted Law No. 2510, restricting Eastern Thrace to people of purely Turkish origin. As a result,
the historic Jewish communities of Edirne and Straits zone were forcefully removed. After an intense anti-Semitic campaign, 10,000 Thracian Jews were
forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in Istanbul within a couple of weeks. This massive violation of human rights of thousands of Turkish Jews
is referred to as the "1934 Trakya Incidents."

3) Following the severe economic crisis of 1939-1942, the Turkish government placed the blame on Jewish, Greek, and Armenian businessmen. A
confiscated tax (Varlik Vergisi) was imposed on them and their properties confiscated. Around 1400 Jews and Armenians were arrested and deported to
Ashkale Labor Camp (west of Erzurum). Even the old and sick were not spared. Among them was a 70-year old paralyzed Jew by the name of Saban,
and a 65-year old handicapped Jew by the name of Behar. Some of these Jews and Greeks died in the Labor Camp. The objective of this racist policy was
to free the Turkish economy from the "control" of Jewish and Greek businessmen.

4) After the outbreak of World War II, the Turkish government rounded up all Jewish, Armenian and Greek males between the ages of 18 and 45. They
were sent to special labor camps in the interior of Anatolia to work day and night on road construction.

5) On September 6, 1955, all shops and businesses in Istanbul belonging to Jews, Armenians, and Greeks were looted, churches and homes burned, and
many people were killed.

6) During World War II, Turkey was an unofficial ally of Nazi Germany. It turned away a shipload of Jews escaping Nazi persecution, causing the
sinking of the ship and the drowning of hundreds of Jewish men, women and children. Furthermore, according to a U.S. State Department report, Turkey
profited handsomely from trading in Nazi Gold confiscated from Jews!

The above list is just a summary of the Turkish treatment of its Jewish minority and just in this century. The Jewish-American community should be
made aware of these facts so they will not de duped into supporting a country that not only has committed genocide against the Armenians,
Assyrians, and Greeks, but has also mistreated, arrested and deported thousands of Jews.

After all this, is Turkey a country Jews want to do business with, be friends with, and serve its sinister interests in the U.S. Congress?