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Wiesenthal Centre to 55-State OSCE Warsaw Meeting: "Turkey Must Act Against Those Responsible for Antisemitic Display on Government Stand at Frankfurt Book Fair"
Warsaw, 12 October 2006
As Permanent Representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Dr. Shimon Samuels presented the following statement to the 2006 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting:
"Mr. Chairman, Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director of the OSCE - ODIHR, What I am about to report, I do so with great sadness. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre's over 400,000 members have long championed the cause of Turkey's entry into the European Union. We forever recall Turkish welcome to the fifteenth century exiled Jews of Spain and the protection provided by Turkish documents to Jewish fugitives in World War II Nazi-occupied Europe."
Samuels expressed pain at "the current epidemic in shops across Turkey of such antisemitic texts as Hitler's Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which are even on sale in many editions at Istanbul International Airport," continuing, "our protests to Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül have elicited the argument for the right to freedom of expression - a principle we, of course, respect."
Samuels noted, "I have just come here from the Frankfurt Book Fair, where I discovered such texts as:
- 'Buyuk Israil Stratejisi' (The Greater Israel Strategy), Istanbul 2005, a saga of Jewish plots against Turkey;
- 'Israil in Sifresi' (Password Israel), Istanbul 2006, which argues that the Torah, through an alphabetic code, reveals that the Jews are planning the Third World War and target Turkey for destruction;
- 'JudaSofya: Hidden Intrigues of the Aya Sofya and the Patriarch', Istanbul 2006, how the Jews are manipulating the return of the Aya Sofya mosque of Istanbul to Greek control.
These titles, and the stereotypes depicted, fit the EU Monitoring Centre's definition of antisemitism and violate the OSCE's Berlin Declaration, as also European conventions on incitement to racism."
The statement registered shock "to find these books exhibited, not at stands of private publishers, but at the magnificent display of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey (Stand 5.1 E953).
This is no longer a case of freedom of expression. Indeed, it could dangerously be construed as government endorsement."
He added, "This year our monitoring was conducted in cooperation with the new Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair and the State Prosecutor of Hessen.
Imagine their consternation that our campaign to render the Fair hate-free foundered at the Turkish pavilion, the day following the public announcement that Turkey was selected as Honouree of the 2008 Fair."
The Centre stressed that "Our friendship for the Turkish people and wish for a European Turkey remain constant. But we urge Ankara's public condemnation, investigation and punishment of those responsible for this outrageous exhibit. We also believe that a statement of regret for this offence to the Jewish people is indicated."
The statement concluded with a call to ODIHR "to sensitize all 55 OSCE States Parties to the dangers of hate literature, just as we expect from the 25 states of the European Union."
"Turkey must take the measures to match that standard," the Centre emphasized.
Photos of the hate texts concerned are available upon request by email or by clicking here.
For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.