Turkish Jews Probed for Aiding IDF During Marmara Incident

Turkey launched an investigation into five citizens it believes collaborated with Israel during the Marmara incident, sparking alarm.

Contact Editor
Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Mavi Marmara
Mavi Marmara
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) has launched an investigation into at least five Turkish citizens it has alleged collaborated with Israel during the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident.

Various reports suggest that targets of the investigation are Jewish without a thorough identification process and go on to mention that the identities of those being investigated will be disclosed at a later time.

MIT alleges that the suspects either assisted the Israeli commandoes who boarded the vessel or later took part in the interrogation of the ship’s activists in Israel, Turkish media reported on Friday.

According to the report, the investigation was launched after activists aboard the flotilla heard a number of Israeli soldiers speaking Turkish during and after the raid.

In a letter to H. E. Namvk Tan, the Ambassador of Turkey to the United States, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) stressed that the vague allegations being reported may create a sense of alarm and intimidation among the Turkish-Jewish community.

"Throughout Jewish history, similar tactics have fomented anti-Semitism by publicly raising suspicions of Jewish dual loyalty in the minds of fellow countrymen," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

“As a Jew, I can attest to you there is a difference between being a Turk and an Israeli,” Ediz, a Turkish Jew, told Al-Monitor. “But whenever there is fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, the atmosphere in Turkey turns against us, and people start acting as if we committed a crime.”

“The media is painting such an image that many won’t even consider us human,” Leri, another Turkish Jew, told the paper.  

ADL also reiterated its call for an explanation on the validity of the reports.

"If your government has information about specific individuals under investigation, that should be disclosed immediately in order to relieve any sense of uncertainty about the Turkish Jewish community in general," Foxman wrote.  "If the news reports are unfounded or misleading, an immediate and public clarification is needed."

Approximately 20,000 Jews currently live in Turkey, most of whom live in Istanbul and Ankara, with smaller concentrations in Izmir, Adana, Bursa, and a number other smaller cities.

Turkey's Istanbul synagogues were the target of twin terror bomb attacks on a Sabbath morning in 2003, which left 23 dead and over 300 wounded.

In 1986, terrorists entered the N'vei Shalom Istanbul Synagogue towards the end of the Sabbath services, murdering 22 Jews, including two Israelis.