A Turkish pundit writing for Yeni Akit, a major publication aligned with President Erdoğan, called for the country’s Jews to be taxed to pay for reconstructing buildings damaged in Gaza during Israel’s recent Operation Protective Edge.
Faruk Köse said that the “Gaza Fund Contribution Tax” should apply to Turkish Jews as well as foreign Jews doing business in Turkey and any Turkish nationals with commercial ties to the Jewish state.
The columnist even said the tax should apply to any company or business that maintains a partnership with a Turkish Jew.
“The reconstruction of Gaza will be paid for by Jewish businessmen,” he said.
The penalty for failing to pay the tax should be the revocation of the Jew’s business licence and the seizure of his property, Köse said.
Köse also sparked controversy in July when he penned an open letter to Turkey’s chief rabbi, calling on Erdoğan to demand that the Jewish community apologize for Israel’s actions in Gaza.
“You came here after being banished from Spain. You have lived comfortably among us for 500 years and gotten rich at our expense. Is this your gratitude – killing Muslims? Erdoğan, demand that the community leader apologize!” he wrote at the time.
The article was mentioned in a subsequent open letter to Erdoğan from Jewish human rights group, the Anti-Defamation League, calling on the leader to “publicly reject all expressions of anti-Semitism including the scapegoating of Turkish Jews for the actions of Israel, and assure the Turkish Jewish community that they continue to have the full support and protection of the state and people of Turkey.”
In recent years the climate in Turkey has become increasingly threatening for the country’s Jewish population. Various violent attacks on individuals have been reported and vicious anti-Israel rhetoric is widespread.
During Protective Edge, Erdoğan compared Israeli actions to Hitler, and violent protests threatened the Israeli embassy and consulate. Last month a Jewish couple was found stabbed to death in their apartment in Istanbul.