Amid reports that the Turkish intelligence service has been spying on the Jewish community, relations between Turkish Jews and the government are at all-time low, according to the Algemeiner. The media is also to blame:
The relationship between the 30,000 or so Jews living in Turkey and the rest of the Turkish population has become tense ever since the relationship between Israel and Turkey began to deteriorate shortly after the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010. Anti-Israel sentiment is high in the country, and anti-Semitism has also been on the rise at the encouragement of Turkey’s Islamist government. A report in Al-Monitor quotes several Jews who fear a backlash against their community.
“As a Jew, I can attest to you there is a difference between being a Turk and an Israeli,” Ediz said. “But whenever there is fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, the atmosphere in Turkey turns against us, and people start acting as if we committed a crime.”
Leri, another Turkish Jew, told Al-Monitor that the media is also to blame. “The media is painting such an image that many won’t even consider us human.”
According to the Al-Monitor article, the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul that tried Israeli soldiers in-absentia for their role in the Mavi Marmara incident asked the Turkish National Intelligence Service (MIT) for a listing of Turkish Jews who traveled to Israel two weeks before and after it occurred. These people were put under surveillance. There are also allegations that the MIT identified five Jews in Turkey as suspicious, and that they expanded surveillance in Istanbul and Izmir — where the majority of the country’s Jewish population lives.
While Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has made appeals to Turkey’s Jewish population to help mend the relationship with Israel, there’s a sense among Jews in Turkey that he has put them in a difficult and compromising position.