For the first time, Turkey will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, scheduled for next Tuesday.
The English-language Turkish BGNNews reported on Thursday that a ceremony marking the day will be held at the Bilkent University in Ankara and will be attended by the chairman of the Turkish Parliament, Cemil Çiçek.
The program will feature Turkish photographer Alberto Modiano’s exhibition entitled “Holocaust Icons”, the report said.
January 27 was recognized as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in a resolution in the United Nations in 2005.
News that Turkey will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day comes amid continuing tensions and concerns over anti-Semitism in Turkey.
American officials expressed deep concern in recent months over the rising levels of anti-Semitism in Turkey. A report late last year revealed that young Turkish Jews were leaving the country in droves as a result of the anti-Semitism.
Turkey has seen a rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes since the rise of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist AKP party. Although violent attacks are still relatively rare, anti-Jewish incitement has become commonplace.
Most recently, the governor of the northwestern province of Edirne was accused of inciting hatred towards the country's Jewish community, after suggesting a synagogue be turned into a museum as a reprisal for Israel's policies over the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Amid all those concerns, however, Erdogan took the time last month to send Turkish Jews a greeting for the holiday of Hanukkah.
The Turkish president said Turkey would carefully preserve its rich cultural and historical heritage, while highlighting that Turkey’s Jewish citizens were “the fundamental elements of Turkey.”