Turkish Jews Hopeful After Elections, But Fear Crackdown

The Turkish elections ended Sunday, leaving an uncertain political future in their wake, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to struggle to form a coalition. 

But despite the uncertainty for the country's overall stability, figures involved with the Turkish Jewish community are convinced that the change will probably be positive. 

"Anything that will reduce the power of the person who is trying to avoid freedom and democracy [i.e. Erdogan – ed.] is good for every citizen, whether he is Jewish or not," Eyal Peretz, chairman of the Turkish community organization in Israel, Arkadas, stated in a special interview with Arutz Sheva on Tuesday. "Certainly the Jews are the first to suffer from his rule."

However, Peretz tempered his praise with a note of caution: anyone against Erdogan's rule may face an even greater crackdown following the election results. 

"The Jews [in Turkey] rarely make statements about politics, because they feel threatened," Peretz warned. "But there is a huge portion of the Turkish public which is secular, [and] people with whom I am in touch say that because of the situation, they want to flee the country." 

Peretz added that, while there is no specific data on the phenomenon, there is a huge trend for young Turks to emigrate due to the rise of Islamic religious extremism.

Meanwhile, he predicts, Opposition parties will refuse to cooperate with Erdogan no matter what – out of self-preservation. 

"Erdogan is going to be a ruler like Assad, Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein," he said. "Is there a party that, in exchange for power, would risk the possibility that the president would eliminate the possibility of future elections? In Turkey, I think the answer is 'no." 

Erdogan has a long and seasoned history of anti-Semitism, and he recently accused the New York Times of being critical of his rule due to "Jewish capital." 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/196471

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