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Wiesenthal Centre to Turkish Prime Minister: EU Accession Negotiations Require Action Against Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism in Turkish Media

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Wiesenthal Centre to Turkish Prime Minister: EU Accession Negotiations Require Action Against Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism in Turkish Media

Paris, 5 September 2005

In a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Affairs, Dr Shimon Samuels, recalled the vision for Turkey that the Premier had presented in July to the California World Affairs Council.

"Enlightened, tolerant, respectful for human rights, and protective of minorities - this is a vision which we share with you and which anchors our championship of Turkey's rightful place in Europe. Indeed, this is a position our Centre will continue to enunciate as you begin the arduous EU accession negotiations next month", stated Samuels.

"However," the letter continued, "to best assist Turkey in that challenging process, we bring to your attention a serious concern at the rising antisemitic invective in some Turkish media... This is not a matter of freedom of expression, for the brief examples below are unambiguously in violation of European Union provisions against Holocaust denial and incitement to racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia."

Samuels pointed to an article in the 5 June edition of the "Milli Gazette", an article entitled "The Jews, the Germans and the Tale of the Holocaust", in which the columnist Fatih Sertyuz speaks of the Holocaust as "an exaggeration of what the Nazis have done to the Jews... a means of manipulating people materially and politically..."

-"Since they were the chosen ones, their suffering had to be the greatest, it had to be incomparable..."

-"They believed in the myths written in the Torah, the Kabbalah and the Zohar..."

-"They belived they were the superior race...parallel to the Nazi Aryan race..."

-"They cooperated with the Nazis... Lufthansa, the plane fleet of the Nazis, was formed by the help of the rich Jews..."

-"The Jews were the primary and only cause of the First World War and responsible for the death of 50 million people in the Second World War..."

-"It is also a lie that thousands of civilians were brutally exterminated in the concentration camps such as Auschwitz Birkenau... there were no gas chambers used for such purposes... All these claims are lies, fraud, libel and unreal..."

Samuels noted that Sertyuz then went on to compound the obscenity of his hatemongering in his 24 July column entitled "Why Nobody Loves You?": -"OK, but why does nobody like you? Or is it true that everyone hates you?"

Switching to the third person plural, the author continues:

-"Understand why THEY are despised and looked down on in every country THEY have been in. Remember that THEY smiled into the faces of people who have welcomed THEM and then stabbed them from the back."

The Centre contends that, "following the Istanbul synagogue bombings, Sertyuz is making a statement that must be taken as a serious threat to the Jewish community of Turkey. Indeed, it is a murderous call for action."

-"Do not forget the Muslims...We still have not forgotten how THEY managed to sneak into the Palace as doctors, pharmacists and cooks (when Suleiman the Magnificent was ruling the Empire) right after the Second Beyazid settled them throughout the Ottoman Empire. THEY immediately began their intrigues, gradually by grasping the Ottoman trade into their hands and then destroying it in a debt-interest circle."

The Centre maintained that its "continual appeals to European governments to denounce incitement against the Turkish and Muslim communities of Europe, must now be matched by a counteraction from the Turkish authorities against this attack on the Jewish minority of Turkey and on Jews everywhere."

It also urged the Prime Minister "to publicly condemn Fatih Sertyuz and to take measures against Milli Gazette in line with the anti-discriminatory policy provisions of the European Union."

Samuels observed that "most EU member-states have adopted the recommendations of the International Task Force on Holocaust Education and Commemoration, understanding that drawing the lessons of the Holocaust is an inoculation of the political organism's antibodies against prejudice, bigotry and hate. To this end, EU members have adopted an annual Holocaust Commemoration Day on 27 January, the day of the liberation of Auschwitz."

The Centre offered to assist the Turkish authorities "in establishing such an educational curriculum to combat the libels exemplified by Milli Gazette."

"Such a programme, we are sure, would receive far-reaching enthusiasm in Europe, and concur with the vision for Turkey which you presented in California," concluded Samuels.

For further information, please contact Dr. Samuels at +33 6 09 77 01 58

Use this link to read letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.