‘Jews not allowed’: Nazi-esque sign at Istanbul store signals rising anti-Semitism in Turkey

A bookshop in Istanbul is displaying a Nazi-like sign over its entrance declaring “Jews Not Allowed” in English and Turkish alongside a crossed-out Israeli flag.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

The antisemitic sign above the Ragmen Sahaf bookstore on Bozdağan Kemeri Street in Turkey’s largest city was reported by the local Jewish news outlet Avlaremosis on Thursday. The sign has been on display since Wednesday, the paper said.

“This discriminatory behavior … is not only illegal and antisemitic but also reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s,” the paper commented in an editorial.

“Relevant municipalities and prosecutors’ offices should do what is necessary to remove this antisemitic banner, prevent similar antisemitic and discriminatory banners from being prepared and displayed, impose the necessary penalties, and take all necessary measures to ensure that Jews live peacefully in the country,” the paper underlined.

The signs’ appearance comes at a time when virulent antisemitism is on the rise in Turkey, bolstered by comments this week from the country’s Islamist President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, lauding the Hamas terrorists who unleashed the Oct. 7 pogrom in southern Israel as “liberation fighters.”

Newspapers closely aligned with Erdoğan’s regime have carried lurid headlines attacking both Israel and the Jewish community.

On Oct. 17, the pro-government Islamist daily Yeni Akit targeted Jewish Turks with the front-page headline “Deport the Zionist Servants from Citizenship.”

Yeni Akit claimed that Jewish Turks are “considered citizens of Israel by nature,” accusing them of traveling to the Jewish state to participate in its war effort.

The following day, the front page of the pro-government daily Yeni Safak carried the headline “This Terror State Must Be Destroyed” in response to false reports that Israel had severely damaged the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City with an air strike.

“What we see from the rhetoric of politicians, the press, and social media is this: In the perception, Jews are completely removed from the position of citizens of the Republic of Turkey and turned into ambassadors and extensions of the state of Israel, and the anger against this state is directed toward Turkish Jews,” Jewish journalist Karel Valansi told German broadcaster DW on Friday.

Around 17,000 Jews live in Turkey, mainly in Istanbul, compared with 81,000 a century ago.