Gemeinde der Türkei]
4. Juli 1934, Thrazien/Westtürkei:
antijüdischen Ausschreitungen vor 70 Jahren
Zehn- fünfzehntausend jüdische Flüchtlinge erreichten am 4.
Juli 1934 und den darauf folgenden Tagen Istanbul. Durch ein organisiertes
Pogrom, das sich zeitgleich in etwa zehn Städten der "europäischen Türkei"
ereignete, waren sie vertrieben, ihre Häuser und Geschäfte geplündert
Türkei nutzt OSZE-Konferenz zur Selbstdarstellung:
Die Türkei ist
frei von Antisemitismus
"Antisemitismus ist der türkischen Bevölkerung seit Alters
her völlig fremd" - so der offizielle Vertreter der Türkei auf der
OSZE-Konferenz zum Thema Antisemitismus vom 28.-29. April 2004 in Berlin.
Das Zusammenleben von Türken und Juden in der Türkei sei "ein lebendiges
Beispiel von interreligiöser und interkultureller Harmonie, Respekt und
Toleranz". Eine Darstellung, die auch in den hiesigen Medien weitgehend
Antisemitismus in der Türkei:
Mehr als nur
Der Antisemitismus hat in der türkischen Geschichte eine
lange Tradition. Darüber reden mag aber niemand, nicht mal die türkischen
Antisemitismus in der Türkei :
Sie bezeichnen den Antisemitismus als "das bestgehütete Geheimnis der
Türkei". Wie reagiert das Land auf einen, der sich in den letzten Jahren
alle Mühe gegeben hat, dieses Geheimnis preiszugeben...
Anyos Munchos i Buenos
NAIM AVIGDOR GULERYUZ
The author is one of the founders of the Quincentennial
Foundation = 500.Yil Vakfi and its vice-president since its opening in 1989.
He is also the Curator and President of the Board of Trustees of the
Jewish Museum of Turkey, opened in
HISTORY PREDATING 1492
The history of the Jews in Anatolia started many centuries before the
migration of Sephardic Jews. Remnants of Jewish settlement from the 4th
century B.C. have been uncovered in the Aegean region. The historian
Josephus Flavius relates that Aristotle "met Jewish people with whom he had
an exchange of views during his trip across Asia Minor."
Ancient synagogue ruins have been found in Sardis, near Izmir,
dating from 220 B.C. and traces of other Jewish settlements have been
discovered near Bursa, in the southeast and along the Aegean,
Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts. A bronze column found in Ankara
confirms the rights the Emperor Augustus accorded the Jews of Asia Minor.
Jewish comunities in Anatolia flourished and continued to prosper through
the Turkish conquest. When the Ottomans captured Bursa in 1324 and made it
their capital, they found a Jewish community oppressed under Byzantine
rule. The Jews welcomed the Ottomans as saviors. Sultan Orhan gave them
permission to build the Etz ha-Hayyim (Tree of Life) synagogue which
remained in service until 50 years ago.
Early in the 14th century, when the Ottomans had established their capital
at Edirne, Jews from Europe, including Karaites, migrated there. (1)
Similarly, Jews expelled from Hungary in 1376, from France by Charles VI
in September 1394, and from Sicily early in the 15th century found refuge
in the Ottoman Empire. In the 1420s, Jews from Salonika then under
Venetian control fled to Edirne. (2)
Ottoman rule was much kinder than Byzantine rule had been.
In fact, from the early 15th century on, the Ottomans actively encouraged
Jewish immigration. A letter sent by Rabbi Yitzhak Sarfati (from Edirne)
to Jewish communities in Europe in the first part of the century "invited
his coreligionists to lease the torments they were enduring in
Christiandom and to seek safety and prosperity in Turkey". (3)
When Mehmet II "the Conqueror" took Constantinople in 1453, he
encountered an oppressed Romaniot (Byzantine) Jewish community which
welcomed him with enthousiasm. Sultan Mehmet II issued a proclamation to
all Jews "... to ascend the site of the Imperial Throne, to dwell in the
best of the land, each beneath his Dine and his fig tree, with silver and
with gold, with wealth and with cattle...". (4)
In 1470, Jews expelled from Bavaria by Ludvig X found refuge in
the Ottoman Empire.(5)
(1) Mark Alan Epstein, "The Ottoman Jewish Communuties and
their role in the 15th and 16th centuries" (2) Joseph Nehama, "Histoire
des Israelites de Salonique" (3) Bernard Lewis, "The Jews of Islam" (4)
Encyclopedia Judaica, Volume 16 page 1532 (5) Avram Galante, "Histoire des
Juifs d'lstanbul", Volume 2
HAVEN FOR SEPHARDIC JEWS
Sultan Bayazid II's offer of refuge gave new hope to the
persecuted Sephardim. In 1492, the Sultan
ordered the governors of the provinces of the Ottoman Empire "not to refuse
the Jews entry or cause them difficulties, but to receive them cordially";.
(6) According to Bernard Lewis, "the Jews were not just permitted to settle
in the Ottoman lands, but were encouranged, assisted and sometimes even
Immanual Aboab attributes to Bayazid II the famous remark that
"the Catholic monarch Ferdinand was wrongly considered as wise, since he
impoverished Spain by the expulsion of the Jews, and enriched Turkey". (7)
The arrival of the Sephardis altered the structure of the
community and the original group of Romaniote Jews was totally absorbed.
Over the centuries an increasing number of European Jews,
escaping persecution in their native countries, settled in the Ottoman
Empire. In 1537 the Jews expelled from Apulia (Italy) after the city fell
under Papal control, in 1542 those expelled from Bohemia by King Ferdinand
found a safe haven in the Ottoman Empire.(8) In March of 1556, Sultan
Suleyman "the Magnificent" wrote a letter to Pope Paul IV asking for the
immediate release of the Ancona Marranos, which he declared to be Ottoman
citizens. The Pope had no other alternative than to release them, the
Ottoman Empire being the "Super Power" of those days.
By 1477, Jewish households in Istanbul numbered 1647 or 11% of
the total. Half a century later, 8070 Jewish houses were listed in the
(6) Abraham Danon, in the Review Yossef Daath No. 4 (7)
Immanual Aboab, "A Consolacam as Tribulacoes de Israel, III Israel" (8) H.
Graetz, "History of the Jews"
THE LIFE OF OTTOMAN JEWS
For 300 years following the expulsion, the prosperity and creativity of
the Ottoman Jews rivaled that of the Golden Age of Spain. Four Turkish
cities: Istanbul, Izmir, Safed and Salonica became the centers of Sephardic
Most of the court physicians were Jews: Hakim Yakoub, Joseph and
Moshe Hamon, Daniel Fonseca, Gabriel Buenauentura to name only very few
One of the most significant innovations that Jews brought to the Ottoman
Empire was the printing press. In 1493, only one year after their
expulsion from Spain, David & Samuel ibn Nahmias established the first
Hebrew printing press in Istanbul .
Ottoman diplomacy was often carried out by Jews. Joseph Nasi, appointed
the Duke of Naxos, was the former Portuguese Marrano Joao Miques. Another
Portuguese Marrano, Aluaro Mandes, was named Duke of Mytylene in return of
his diplomatic services to the Sultan. Salamon ben Nathan Eskenazi
arranged the first diplomatic ties with the British Empire. Jewish women
such as Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi "La Seniora" and Esther Kyra exercised
considerable influence in the Court.
In the free air of the Ottoman Empire, Jewish litterature
flourished. Joseph Caro compiled the Shulhan Arouh. Shlomo haLevi Alkabes
composed the Lekhah Dodi a hymn which welcomes the Sabbath according to
both Sephardic and Ashkenazi ritual. Jacob Culi began to write the famous
MeAm Loez. Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac Assa became known as the father of
On October 27,1840 Sultan Abdulmecid issued his famous ferman
concerning the "Blood Libel Accusation" saying: "... and for the love we
bear to our subjects, we cannot permit the Jewish nation, whose innocence
for the crime alleged against them is evident, to be worried and tormented
as a consequence of accusations which have not the least foundation in
Under Ottoman tradition, each nonMoslem religious community was
responsible for its own institutions, including schools. In the early 19th
century, Abraham de Camondo established a modern school, "La Escola",
causing a serious conflict between conservative and secular rabbis which
was only settled by the intervention of Sultan Abdulaziz in 1864. The same
year the Takkanot haKehilla (By-laws of the Jewish Community) was
published, defining the structure of the Jewish community.
An important event in the life of Ottoman Jews in the 17th
century was the schism led by Sabetay Sevi, the pseudo Messiah who lived
in Izmir and later adopted Islam with his followers.
EQUALITY AND A NEW REPUBLIC
Efforts at reform of the Ottoman Empire led to the prodamation of the
Hatti Humayun in 1856, which made all Ottoman citizens, Moslem and nonMoslem
alike, equal under the law. As a result, leadership of the community began
to shift away from the religious figure to secular forces.
World War I brought to an end the glory of the Ottoman Empire.
In its place rose the young Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was
elected president, the Caliphate was abolished and a secular constitution
Recognized in 1923 by the Treaty of Lausanne as a fully
independent state within its presentday borders, Turkey accorded minority
rights to the three principal nonMoslem religious minorities and permitted
them to carry on with their own schools, social institutions and funds. In
1926, on the eve of Turkey's adoption of the Swiss Civil Code, the Jewish
Community renounced its minority status on personal rights.
Here could be a picture: "Etz ha-Hayim" Synagogue before it
burnt in 1941, Visit of late Chief Rabbi Haim Bedjerano (Ortakoy -
During the tragic days of World War II, Turkey managed to
maintain its neutrality. As early as 1933 Ataturk invited numbers of
prominent German Jewish professors to flee Nazi Germany and settle in
Before and during the war years, these scholars contributed a
great deal to the development of the Turkish university system. During
World War II Turkey served as a safe passage for many Jews fleeing the
horrors of the Nazism. While the Jewish communities of Greece were wiped
out almost completely by Hitler, the Turkish Jews remained secure. Several
Turkish diplomats Ambassadors Behic Erkin and Numan Menemencioglu;
ConsulGenerals Fikret Sefik Ozdoganci, Bedii Arbel, Selahattin Ulkumen;
Consuls Namik Kemal Yolga and Necdet Kent, just to name only few of them
(7) spent all their efforts to save from the Holocaust the Turkish Jews in
those countries, and succeeded. Mr. Salahattin Ulkumen, ConsulGeneral at
Rhodes in 1943 1944, has been recognized by the Yad Vashem as a Righteous
Gentile "Hassid Umot ha'Olam" in June 1990. Turkey continues to be a
shelter, a haven for all those who have to flee the dogmatism, intolerance
(7) Immanual Aboab, "A Consolacam as Tribulacoes de Israel,
TURKISH JEWS TODAY
The present size of Jewish Community is estimated at around 26.000. The
vast majority live in
Istanbul, with a
community of about 2.500 in Izmir and other smaller groups located in Adana,
Ankara, Bursa, Canakkale, Iskenderun, Kirklareli etc. Sephardis make up 96%
of the Community, with Ashkenazis accounting for the rest. There are about
100 Karaites, an independent group who does not accept the authority of the
Jews are legally represented, as they have been for many centuries, by the
Hahambasi, the Chief Rabbi. Rav David Asseo, Chief Rabbi since elected in
1961, is assisted by a religious Council made up of a Rosh Bet Din and
three Hahamim. Thirtyfive Lay Counsellors look after the secular affairs
of the Community and an Executive Commitee of fourteen, the president of
which must be elected from among the Lay Counselors, runs the daily
are classified as religious foundations (Vakifs). There are
16 synagogues in use in Istanbul today. Three are in service in
holiday ressorts, during summer only. Some of them are very old,
especially Ahrida Synagogue in the Balat area, which dates from middle15th
century. The 15th and 16th century Haskoy and Kuzguncuk cemeteries in
Istanbul are still in use today.
Photos of Neve Shalom Synagogue Istanbul (Aysen Doymaz)
EDUCATION LANGUAGE AND SOCIAL LIFE
Most Jewish children attend state schools or private Turkish or foreign
language schools, and many are enrolled in the universities.
Additionally, the Community maintains a primary school for 300
pupils and a secondary school for 250 students in Istanbul, and an
elementary school for 140 children in Izmir. Turkish is the language of
instruction, and Hebrew is taught 35 hours a week.
While younger Jews speak Turkish as their native language, the
older generation is more at home speaking in French or JudeoSpanish
(Ladino). A conscious effort is spent to preserve the heritage of
For long years Turkish Jews have had their own press. La Buena
Esperansa and La Puerta dew Oriente started in Izmir in 1843 and Or Israel
started to be published in Istanbul ten years later. Now one newspaper
survives: SALOM (Shalom), an eightpage weekly with seven pages written in
Turkish and one in JudeoSpanish.
A Community Calendar (Halila) is published by the Chief
Rabbinate every year and distributed free of charge to all those who have
paid their dues (Kisba) to the welfare bodies. The Community cannot levy
taxes, but can request donations.
Two Jewish hospitals the 98 bed Or haHayim in Istanbul and the
22 bed Karatas Hospital in Izmir serve the Community. Both cities have
homes for the aged (Moshav Zekinim) and several welfare associations to
assist the poor, the sick, the needy children and orphans.
Social clubs containing librairies, cultural and sports
facilities, discotheques give young people the chance to meet.
The Jewish Community is of course a very small group in Turkey
today, considering that the total population which is 99% Moslem exceeds
57 million. But in spite of their number the Jews have distinguished
themselves. There are several Jewish professors teaching at the
universities of Istanbul and Ankara, and many Turkish Jews are prominent
in business, industry and the liberal professions.
THE QUINCENTENNIAL FOUNDATION
"500. YIL VAKFI"
1992 marks the five hundreth anniversary of this most gracious welcome
of Sephardim to Turkish lands. Turkish Jews felt it was both fitting and
proper to launch an extensive celebration in Turkey, in the United States
and in Europe.
Jewish history is full of sad events which are marked by
commemorations and memorial services. But now there was a major event to
celebrate. To celebrate both the 500th anniversary of the welcoming of the
Sephardic Jews to the Ottoman Empire and the five centuries of continous
and peaceful life in Turkey.
The Quincentennial Foundation was established in 1989 by
a group of 113 Turkish citizens, Jews and Moslems alike.
Founded and headquarted in Istanbul the Quincentennial Foundation
organized a threeyear (1990 - 1992) cultural and academic program both
within Turkey and abroad mainly in the U.S, Canada and Mexico on the
American continent; France, United Kingdom and Italy in Europe.
The Foundation embarked on a very ambitious program as befits
the greatness of the occasion. What Turkish Jews lack in numbers they make
up in enthousiasm and commitment. And they toward their vision with great
This program has been designed to bring the diverse and rich
legacy of Turkish Jewry to a greater audience.
The first publication in October 1991, was followed by
revised editions in 1992, 2000 and 2002. Catalogued at the Library of
Congress and the British Library,London.
Gemeinde der Türkei
Deutschsprachige Seiten zur
von Aysen Doymaz