New York, NY, May 22, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern over “unwarranted and hurtful conspiracy theories” made by some Turkish politicians and media outlets falsely connecting Jews to the tragic Soma mining accident, and called on the Turkish government to condemn these expressions.
On May 20, a front page headline in the pro-government Turkish daily Yeni Akit newspaper criticized the owner of the Soma Coal Mine Company for having a Jewish son-in-law, claiming this is why “foreign” media outlets were attacking Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the tragedy. The headline was followed by a tweet, since-deleted, by Burhun Kuzu, a senior parliamentarian from the Prime Minister’s AKP party, who stated that the “Foreign Jewish lobby pounced on Erdogan because of Soma disaster. But mine owner’s son-in-law is Jewish.”
The term “foreigner” is often used as a euphemism for “Jew” in public Turkish discourse.
“The unwarranted and hurtful conspiracy theories in the Yeni Akit newspaper and by MP Kuzu, which falsely connects Jews to the Soma mine tragedy, have no place in Turkish discourse,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “We call on Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to publicly condemn the effort to link Jews with this tragedy.”
Mr. Foxman added, “Introducing these conspiracy theories disrespects the victims and their families and diverts attention away from the investigation process. It also sends a message to Turkey’s Jewish community which can raise questions about their place in Turkish society.”
“These kinds of conspiracy theories feed into anti-Semitic stereotypes found in our polling in Turkey, which told us that more than two-thirds of those polled feel Jews have too much power in business, and similar numbers showing that Jews care only about their own kind,” Mr. Foxman said. “It is important for the Turkish government to convey to its people that such prejudiced beliefs are unacceptable.”