Anti-Semitic graffiti is becoming commonplace in Istanbul’s Gaziosmanpaşa neighborhood. Slogans such as “no pigs and Jews allowed,” “no parking for pigs and Jews,” and “free Jerusalem, death to Jewish murderers,” were discovered spray-painted on various edifices throughout the area.
The appearance of hateful graffiti is new to the area, said local resident Suleyman Sahin, despite the fact that there are likely no Jews living in the neighborhood. Residents said that there could be political motives behind the graffiti, especially given the proximity of upcoming elections and an unpopular redevelopment plan.
About 95 percent of Turkey’s thousands of years old Jewish community lives in Istanbul today. According to some sources, the number of Jews in Turkey is about 17,000 people, a tiny fraction of the country’s 73.7 million person population.
The ascension of the Islamist AKP party to power in 2002, including firebrand President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, brought with it anti-Israel rhetoric that reached its zenith following Israel’s seizure of a Turkish boat off the coast of Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals.
Antisemitism has a long history in largely Islamic Turkey, and stems both from the growing Islamist ideology as well as left-wing anti-Zionism, and anti-Jewish sentiment is common in popular Turkish literature and media.
‘No Parking for Jews and Pigs’