Wiesenthal Center Issues Travel Advisory for Turkey

July 18, 2014 

Current climate a "prescription for disaster"

Effective immediately, the Simon Wiesenthal Center—a leading international Jewish rights NGO--  is issuing a travel advisory for Turkey.

"Recent acts of violence, rioting, threats and insults against Israel and Jews--including Turkey's historic Jewish community--by national leaders and personalities, are prescriptions for disaster," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center  and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center's associate dean.  

Photo: A violent demonstration targeted the Israeli embassy in Ankara on Thursday night, as the IHH terror organization - the group behind the Mavi Marmara terror ship - threatened to exact revenge for what is going on in Gaza from Turkish Jewry (Hat Tip: Joshua I).

"When Prime Minister Erdoǧan falsely describes Israel's self-defense against Hamas as "genocide'; when calls for the elimination of Jews are backed by the mayor of Ankara; when a popular Turkish singer tweets that it will be 'Muslims who will bring an end to those Jews' and 'May God bless Hitler', it cannot be business as usual," the Rabbis charged.

"For hundreds of years, Turkey has served as a safe haven for Jews who were fleeing from persecution and intolerance. It is tragic that today the world is witnessing the scapegoating of Turkish Jews—people who have no input or influence over any actions taken by the state of Israel," Hier and Cooper continued.  

"Finally, we call on NATO Secretary General Rasmussen to denounce the anti-Jewish campaign in Turkey. NATO was created to defend democracies and freedom, not bullies and bigots," the Rabbis concluded.

The current Hamas-Israel conflict has spawned violent demonstrations— that have included members of Ergogan's own AKP Party--against the Israeli Embassy and Jewish institutions. As a result, family members of Israeli embassy staffers have been asked by their government to leave the country. In a news interview, one prominent activist said, "Turkish Jews will pay dearly… Jewish tourists, don't dare to come to Turkey. Tonight and tomorrow we are going to hold a different kind of protest."

In the past, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has issued temporary travel advisories to France, the United Arab Emirates and Malmö, Sweden (which is still active).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).