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Turkish Paper Attacks 'Jews' over Mining Disaster

Ultra-conservative daily slams mining company head for 'giving his daughter to a Jew'; says it's the reason for media criticism of Erdogan.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 5/21/2014, 6:25 PM

An injured minder is carried to an ambulance, Soma, Turkey 5/2014
An injured minder is carried to an ambulance, Soma, Turkey 5/2014
Reuters

An ultra-conservative Turkish newspaper has come under fire for an anti-Semitic front-page story which implied that "Jews" were to blame for March 13's fatal Soma mining disaster.

Yenit Akit published a bizarre story attacking the head of the Soma Coal Mine Company for having a Jewish son-in-law. The paper, which is aligned with Erdogan's Islamist AKP party, explicitly targeted Alp Gürkan for "giving his daughter to a Jew," and claimed that that was the main reason why foreign media outlets were "attacking Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan", according to Hurriyet Daily News.

The story reportedly provoked a backlash on social media, with users calling on Erdogan's government to condemn the blatant display of anti-Semitism.

At least 301 people were killed in the disaster, the worse industrial accident in Turkey's history. Several arrests have been made over negligence at the site, but angry protests have also broken out blaming the government for neglecting to enforce safety regulations nationwide.

The demonstrations have clearly rattled Erdogan's administration; the PM physically assaulted a protester whilst shouting an anti-Israel slur as he was confronted at a recent rally. That, despite the Jewish state's immediate offer of assistance to help in search and rescue efforts.

Just one day earlier, one of Erdogan's close aids provoked uproar after a photo showed him kicking a demonstrator who was being restrained by police.

According to Hurriyet the Yenit Akit paper has a "long track record of anti-Semitic slurs".

Erdogan himself has come under scrutiny for anti-Semitic comments several times in the past. During last year's Gezi Park demonstrations he blamed an Israeli conspiracy for the protests, and during his time as mayor of Istanbul remarked that "today, the image of the Jews is no different than that of the Nazis".