When a U.S. congressional committee approved a resolution recognizing the World War I-era massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide, Turkey's reaction was swift and harsh: Blame the Jews.
Jewish and Christian leaders were optimistic when the Turkish Parliament began debating a bill regulating minority foundations and organizations.The draft version -- part of a reform effort driven by Turkey's bid for European Union membership -- contained provisions making it easier for minority groups to operate and reacquire properties that had been confiscated by the state. But after a heated debate on the measure, with many parliamentarians objecting to its liberal approach, the version that passed Parliament offered little improvement over the past.
Is Israel's relationship with Turkey on the skids? Such fears came to the fore when a Lebanese newspaper, quoting sources in Ankara, reported recently that Turkey was freezing future military contracts with Israeli firms. According to the paper, the step was decided on by Turkey's Islamic-oriented government, which rejects strategic military cooperation with Israel.
The recent bombings of two Istanbul synagogues won't end the tradition of openness in Turkey's Jewish community -- and it could even make the community more cohesive, leaders say.
Yoel Ulcer was so set on helping Istanbul's Jewish community that he could hardly wait to turn 18, when he could join the corps of volunteer guards that stands outside synagogues and Jewish institutions in Turkey's commercial capital.
The Jewish presence in Turkey usually is dated to 1492, when the Ottoman emperor Beyazit II welcomed Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition to his territory. In fact, though, Jewish life in the area has been traced back to at least the fourth century B.C.E.