Chicken s**t anti-Semite? A Turkish governor claimed he did not mean to threaten the old synagogue and was only airing his sentiments.  

Dursun Ali Şahin, the governor of Edirne in Turkey, threatened to shut down a famous, ancient synagogue in his province on Friday in what he said was retaliation for Israel’s closing the Temple Mount to all worshipers because of Arab rioting.

The century-old Buyuk Synagogue is currently undergoing renovations, and Şahin threatened to reopen the house of prayer as a museum, rather than a synagogue, barring access to Jewish worshipers.

When he first made the threat, he stated: “Those bandit-like [Israeli] people who are blowing the winds of war and doing military drills at the al-Aqsa Mosque are killing Muslims there, and we are restoring their synagogues here. I am saying all this with a grudge. The synagogue here whose restoration is about to be completed will only serve as a museum.”

Governor: ‘A Huge Hatred Inside Me’

“I say this with a huge hatred inside me. We clean their graveyards, send their projects to boards. The synagogue here will be registered only as a museum, and there will be no exhibition inside it,” Sahin stated.

Built in 1907, Buyuk Synagogue is the second biggest synagogue in Europe, with an original capacity for 1,200 people. The building, however, is in a state of serious disrepair, with restorations getting underway in 2010. Turkey has set aside $1.6 million for its renovation, which is almost complete.

The Turkish Today’s Zaman reports that as a result of the negative reactions and outcry, especially in the social media, Şahin retracted his statement, claiming that he did not actually mean to shut down the synagogue and was only expressing his hard feelings about the Temple Mount unrest.

Wall-to-Wall Condemnation

Aykan Erdemir, a member of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), called for the governor to resign from his position. According to Erdemir, Sahin declared his hatred in his own statement that he holds a grudge. Such a person does not have the appropriate character for public service, Erdemir asserted, adding that if the governor does not display the wisdom to resign, he should be dismissed from his position by the government.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement condemning the idea to shut down the synagogue and expressing outrage. Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, stated: “We are outraged by the Edirne governor’s hostile statements and intent to bar Jewish worship and ceremonies from this historic synagogue as an act of punishment for alleged Israeli actions. He did not try to hide his hatred of Jews; it was clearly expressed in his public comments.”

“These statements and actions exacerbate the sense of unease and heighten the concern felt by the age-old Turkish Jewish community in the face of increasingly hostile public discourse towards Jews and Israel in Turkey,” Foxman declared.

Foxman welcomed the Turks’ rejection of Sahin’s comments and urged “responsible leaders at the highest levels of the Turkish government” to add their voices of rejection and condemnation “of these offensive and threatening comments.”

Stand Up for What’s Right!

This story shows the importance of standing up for the truth. Enough people expressed anger at Sahin’s threats and their outcry was worth it! What do YOU think of Sahin’s claim that he did not really plan to shut down the synagogue?

Author: United with Israel Staff