Arutz Sheva, Israel
Jan 27 2015
Turkish Capital Hosts Holocaust Ceremony for First Time
Official ceremony designed to express solidarity with the Jewish
community – but is it too little, too late?
By Arutz Sheva Staff
Turkey will host a ceremony to commemorate Holocaust victims in its
capital for the first time in a sign of solidarity with the Jewish
community, an official said.
“The ceremony will take place in Ankara for the first time, with the
presence of parliament speaker,” the official told AFP.
Holocaust International Remembrance Day was first marked in Turkey in
2011 and since then ceremonies had been held in Istanbul
But this year, the government has shifted the venue to Ankara and has
made its presence visible at international platforms.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu travelled to Auschwitz to
participate in an international ceremony, and the speaker of
parliament Cemil Cicek attended a Holocaust forum in the Czech capital
“It is a duty of humanity to remember the Holocaust, one of the
biggest crimes in history, and to teach future generations about it so
as to ensure this kind of offense will never be experienced again,”
the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
“Our country is taking all necessary steps to prevent such crimes from
The ceremony will be at the private Bilkent University and will also
be attended by members of the Jewish community.
Deterorating Turkish-Israel relations
The gesture does not offset deteriorating relations between Ankara and
Jerusalem, however – nor an alarming rise of anti-Semitism in the
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has often blasted Israel during
attacks on Gaza, declaring in July that the Jewish state had
“surpassed Hitler in barbarism.”
Last month, American officials expressed deep concern over the rising
levels of anti-Semitism in Turkey. A report late last year 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.
Most recently, 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.