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Sunday, 30 July 2017
Preferring Ottoman Turkey to Erdogan's Turkey - a Jewish perspective.
Turkey's leader, Recep Erdogan, was reported as saying Jews should appreciate the Ottoman Empire. It was the Ottoman Sultans that gave shelter and protection to the Jews fleeing European Catholic persecution, particularly those fleeing the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions.
The Ottoman rule in Palestine was one of benign neglect but it allowed the influx of Russian and Romanian Jews escaping the pogroms of Russia and Romania to build new lives for themselves by developing and nourishing the barren landscape.
The Ottomans lost control to the harsh revolution of the Young Turks that usurped power and promptly brought death and destruction to the region and Europe.
They allied with the Germans in the Great War. They were guilty of the Armenian genocide and began to impose the same methods against Palestinian Jews. They plundered the Jewish agricultural settlements, deported tens of thousands of Palestinian Jews, confiscated the weapons that left the remaining Jews defenseless, and were about to conduct a slaughter when prevented from doing do, surprisingly by the Germans under whose command their Turkish soldiers were fighting against the Allies. General Erich von Falkenhayn and Colonel Kress von Kessenstein interceded and stopped the ruthless Turkish leader, Djemal Pasha, from slaughtering the Palestinian Jews. By that time, Jews had been hanged and murdered by the Turks in Jaffa.
We witness Erdogan's authoritarian rule. His imprisonment of journalists, academics, opposition supporters, the mass round-up of tens of thousands of Turks last year. The Kurds he is killing today are Turkey's 2017 Armenians. He hates Israel and supports the internationally recognized terror organisation, Hamas. Turkish Jewry live in fear of this threatening presence.
Erdogan is today's Djemal Pasha. Yes, Mr. Erdogan. We Jews would much prefer a Turkey ruled by the Ottomans to the one ruled by you.
Barry Shaw is the author of 2017 best-seller, '1917. From Palestine to the Land of Israel,' which tells of the courageous Palestinian Jews and Christian Zionists who helped drive the Turks out of Palestine and paved the way to the land of Israel. Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon and from Steimatzky bookstores in Israel.