While the response is admirable, it is clearly becoming easier for people to openly espouse antisemitism.
“All decisions regarding the functions of the buildings owned by the Directorate General of Foundations are taken by the directorate,” Foundations Director General Adnan Ertem told Anadolu Agency on Nov. 22.
“Our intentions is to keep that building as a house of worship to serve all visitors,” he added.
Edirne Gov. Dursun Şahin created uproar when he told reporters on Nov. 21 that he ordered the historical Büyük Synagogue (the Great Synagogue), built in 1907 in the village of Kaleiçi, to be turned into a museum, citing the recent Israeli raid on al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
“While those bandits blow winds of war inside al-Aqsa and slay Muslims, we build their synagogues,” Şahin said.
“I say this with a huge hatred inside me. We clean their graveyards, send their projects to boards. But the synagogue here will be registered only as a museum, and there will be no exhibitions inside it.”
However, Ertem vowed that the building, which has been under restoration since 2010 on a budget of 3.7 million Turkish Liras, would serve both as a place of worship and visit, similar to Süleymaniye and Sultanahmet mosques.
“All visitors should be able easily pray there, which is the biggest synagogue in Europe. That is our intention” said Ertem.
The Jewish community in Turkey had applied to the governor’s office to have sermons and wedding ceremonies at the synagogue, whose restoration is almost complete.
A main opposition lawmaker has called for the governor’s resignation for his remarks.
“If Şahin does not resign to save the dignity of his post and Turkey’s honor, he should be removed from his post immediately,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Aykan Erdemir said in a written statement.
It is shameful for a public official to make such remarks, added Erdemir, who argued that “hatred and anti-Semitism have seized the state.”
Sunday, November 23, 2014
- Sunday, November 23, 2014
- Elder of Ziyon
From Hurriyet Daily News: