A mass-circulation, pro-government newspaper in Turkey has been roundly condemned by the country’s Jewish community after it accused “Jewish businessmen” of engaging in suspicious transactions on Turkish financial markets in the run-up to the abortive coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016.
In an article billed as an investigative report published by the conservative tabloid Yeni Şafak (“New Dawn”) on Tuesday, reporter Osman Özgan claimed that Turkish authorities had discovered “hundreds of suspicious transactions” before July 15, 2016 — the day the coup was launched.
“It became evident that nearly 60 businessmen had withdrawn from the market, selling all their shares on and before July 15,” Özgan wrote. “Among these names are also some Jewish businessmen and international corporations.” None of the individuals was explicitly named, and Özgan did not specify how many of them were Jews, or why the fact of their being Jewish was relevant to the authorities’ inquiries.
On its official Twitter feed, the Turkish Jewish community denounced the article as an “antisemitic provocation” and an example of “hate rhetoric.”
Yeni Şafak has long had the reputation of being one of the most antisemitic outlets in Turkey. Over the last decade, its columnists have published numerous articles accusing Jews of “empowering” the “destruction of Islam by the USA.” It has also described Zionism as a “Jewish pathology,” and demanded that Turkish Jews, suspected of “dual loyalty”, condemn Israel.
In September 2017, the paper enthusiastically pushed the conspiracy theory — also voiced by Erdoğan — that the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan was an “Israeli plot” to resettle 200,000 Kurdish Jews in the region.