Erdogan extends Hanukkah greetings to local Jews

In Hanukkah message, Erdogan says Turkey places great importance on the freedom of everyone to observe their own religion and traditions.

Ben Ariel,

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday extended holiday greetings to Turkey’s Jewish citizens and to all Jews on the occasion of Hanukkah.

Erdogan said that Turkey places great importance on the freedom of everyone to observe their own religion and traditions, the Anadolu news agency reported.

"My best wishes for the Hanukkah festival of all Jews, especially the inseparable part of our society's Jewish citizens, with whom we have co-existed peacefully for centuries, and I wish them peace," said the Turkish president.

In a message of his own in honor of Hanukkah, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim noted that throughout history Turkey has embraced all races, religions, and beliefs.

"My best wishes for the Hanukkah festival of our citizens and all Jews, and I wish them health and goodness," he said, according to Anadolu.

Last year during Hanukkah, Turkey’s Jewish citizens lit the menorah in public for the first time in the country’s history. The celebration was held in Istanbul’s Ortaköy district and various state officials were in attendance.

American officials two years ago expressed deep concern over the rising levels of anti-Semitism in Turkey, after a report revealed that young Turkish Jews were leaving the country in droves as a result of the anti-Semitism.

Turkey has seen a rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes since the rise of Erdogan's Islamist AKP party. Although violent attacks are still relatively rare, anti-Jewish incitement has become commonplace.

Several years ago, the governor of the northwestern province of Edirne was accused of inciting hatred towards the country's Jewish community, after suggesting a synagogue be turned into a museum as a reprisal for Israel's policies over the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.








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