In my beautiful country, Sunday is holiday. Nothing to do. I usually spend my Sundays praying to God and reading novels. But ever since I have begun writing about Israel on Twitter, there is no off-day for me. Thanks to Turkish society I can’t spend any moment without thinking about Jew-hatred.
A video has gone viral recently. A young couple celebrating Mevlit, a typical Islamic prayer ceremony organized after the baby’s birth -in other words, a baby blessing ceremony-. I am not interested in how much people would spend on their children. (Their tax problem is not my concern, since it is not my job and I have already lost my hope about the corruption in Turkey). However, this luxurious celebration has just become the focal point of a huge debate between AKP supporters and the opposition. Here comes the climax for me. Mr. Lütfü Türkkan, an MP from IYI Party, one of the opposition parties, shared this video on Twitter with this comment:
“There is a group of people that have become rich due to their undeserved income and live luxuriously, we call them Protestant Muslims. These people have become Jews, mentally”.
Many people criticized this MP’s words, some supported him by saying “He never meant to hurt Jews, he wanted to emphasize how these Muslims have become corrupt bla bla bla”. Needless to say, this statement is also an antisemitic statement. These people don’t even realize that they are revealing their own antisemitic beliefs trying to cover Mr. Türkkan’s words.
I asked Mr. Türkkan, to explain what he meant by saying “becoming Jews” if he didn’t really mean to say anything negative or antisemitic. Still no answer..
To tell you the truth, I don’t expect much from a member of a right-wing party since even a great majority of leftists are antisemites in Turkey. After all, I am personally very much relieved that I will have the opportunity to choose between various antisemites in the next elections. If you don’t want to vote for antisemite Islamists, you can vote for secular antisemites.
The irony here is that if you tell these people that they are antisemites they will fervently deny it. Mr. Türkkan said every statement that has Jew in it, is not antisemitic. Yes Mr. Türkkan, but unfortunately your statement is. For example if I say some Jews are very untidy. This sentence might be negative but it is certainly not antisemitic either. Because I am talking only about some Jews, not all, and with my statement I never claim that untidiness is an innate, genetic or cultural quality of all Jews. This is that simple. Why do people behave like it’s rocket science when it comes to antisemitism?
On the other hand, don’t you think that there is a deep hypocrisy that leaks from their words? These antisemites always have big words. JEE-WS, CORRR-UP-TION, MOO-NEY, GR-EED. But when someone courageous stands out and tell them to their face that they are antisemites, they act as if they have never heard of such a thing. Certainly, I am not talking about Mr. Türkkan here. I know that he is a true gentleman and I am sure he will apologize for his words. I am talking about most of the antisemites that I know.
Strictly speaking, I still believe in honesty, even between enemies. You might call me “old school” but that is how I am. I don’t understand why these people don’t have the guts to stand behind their ideas. If I was an antisemite I wouldn’t deny it. Everyone would know that. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a sane mind. I might have been a horrible fascist but I wouldn’t be “politically correct”. I would say it out loud. Talk about your fascism, let us know who you are so that we can know who our “enemy” or our “rival” is. That we can know whom we can trust, to what extent and about which issue. But when you act like a fish caught, sliding and hopping, leaping up and down, we can never be sure who stands with us and who is against us.
Nevertheless I never doubted that a party separated from MHP (Nationalist Movement Party, “the grey wolves”, as they are known in Europe) would have members who were not antisemite. It is always the same story. Ask them about Armenians, same story. Ask them about socialists, same story. All in all, we, “the good ones” have a lesson to learn from this tale: never ever trust the big grey wolf.