Feelings are running high in Turkey at present over the violent attacks by Israeli security forces on Palestinian protesters in Gaza. The government has openly condemned the Israeli government’s actions. This evening a public meeting will be held in Istanbul, and no doubt strong words will be spoken.
Interestingly, the people of Turkey, and before them, the Ottoman Empire have a long history of providing friendship, support and even sanctuary to Jewish people when they were suffering persecution in Europe.
I want to share with you two news items that appeared in our local newspaper this morning:
The first refers to an incident that took place yesterday in Taksim Square – a location teeming with emotive connotations for Turks of all political persuasions.
Apparently two Israeli journalists representing a TV channel Hadashot were attempting to interview passersby about their views on the recent events in Gaza. It seems things were peaceful enough until a woman, allegedly a citizen of Azerbaijan, became angry. “You are killing people in Palestine,” she shouted, “and you are coming here to do reports!”
A crowd began to gather and two other people joined the woman in starting to push the two journalists around. Luckily for the Israelis, police intervened, listened to their complaints and took the woman into custody.
The second item was about Yair Netanyahu, son of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the article, the PM’s son posted a picture of the Turkish flag on Instagram accompanied by some obscene words.
Possibly the young Netanyahu was surprised at the negative reaction he received to his post, and shortly after closed his Instagram account.