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Prominent Turkish newscaster defends interview with lawyer who raised the possibility that Jewish men might murder non-Jewish virgins.

By Andrew Bernard, The Algemeiner

One of Turkey’s most prominent newscasters on Monday defended his interview with a lawyer who raised the possibility that Jewish men might murder non-Jewish virgins.

In an interview on his YouTube channel on Saturday, Fatih Altaylı, a TV presenter and print journalist with the Habertürk newspaper, spoke with lawyer Rezan Epözdemir about the decade-old murder of Münevver Karabulut, a 17 year-old girl whose body was mutilated in a case that continues to garner widespread attention in Turkey. Epözdemir represents the Karabulut family.

Discussing potential motives for the 2009 murder, Epözdemir said that because the man convicted of Karabulut’s killing was of partial Algerian-Jewish descent, the court had considered the possibility that Karabulut had been killed in a supposed coming-of-age ritual called the “Rite of the Unleavened” that requires Jewish men to kill non-Jewish virgins.

“There was an argument during the trial phase. Unleavened Rite. A family of Algerian descent. of Jewish origin,” Epözdemir said. “This was the reason for the execution of many families of Jewish origin in the Ottoman Empire. Rite of the Unleavened … What is it?…A man who has reached the age of 18 will prove his coming-of-age by murdering a young virgin girl…It was there today, even I read it in the press a few places. There is such a type of ritual. [It] also entered the minutes in the [court] file.”

During the interview, which has been viewed more than 1.2 million times on YouTube, neither Altaylı nor Epözdemir say clearly that the “rite” is an antisemitic fiction.

For centuries Jews have faced false accusations, collectively known as the ‘Blood Libel,’ that they abduct non-Jews for use in human sacrifices or to use their blood to prepare the unleavened bread eaten during Passover. Those accusations have in turn historically prompted mass violence against Jews in Europe and the Middle East, and continue to be repeated by antisemitic groups like Hamas.

Responding to charges that the interview was antisemitic, Altaylı and Epözdemir have said they were simply repeating what was raised in the court documents.

“The statements made by lawyer Rezan Epözdemir in my program, which caused him to be accused of being antisemitic by some, are not Epözdemir’s personal opinion, but one of the reasons the court investigated as the reason for the murder. I wouldn’t even talk to someone who has antisemitic rhetoric,” Altaylı said on Twitter.

Other Turkish commentators rejected that argument, saying that the inclusion of the blood libel in court documents was no excuse to repeat it or suggest that the “ritual” had any basis in reality.

“It is a disastrous thing for a lawyer like Rezan Epözdemir to hide behind the sentence ‘[it] also entered the court minutes’ and explain this bulls*** in a public broadcast,” Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan wrote on Monday. “This is to involve a community that had nothing to do with the murder, just because they were Jewish. In this respect, it is a complete hate crime.”

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