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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Turkey 01: Atatürk state since 1923

Emancipation of other religions - language restrictions - second-class citizens Christians and Jews

Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Turkey, vol.15,
                  col.1457-1458, map with Jewish centers of 1930 and
                  1970
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Turkey, vol.15, col.1457-1458, map with Jewish centers of 1930 and 1970

from: Turkey; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 15

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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<TURKEY, modern republic in Asia Minor and S.E. Europe (see *Ottoman Empire for previous period).

[[There is no indication about World War I and the wars afterwards of the Greek invasion under the order of the League of Nations 1919-1923]].

[since 1923: Atatürk state - emancipation of Christian and Jewish religion - language restrictions against Hebrew]

In the peace treaty of Lausanne (July 24, 1923) Turkey established complete sovereignty in Anatolia, the southeastern part of Thrace, and some islands in its territorial waters. The international status of the Turkish republic was secured, and in the following year (1924) the caliphate was abolished.

The Treaty of Lausanne secured the rights of the religious and ethnic minorities (par. 39), who were permitted to have their own social institutions, funds, and schools (par. 40). In paragraph 41 the Turkish government assured the minorities their personal status as provided by their religious canons.

The Jews showed their Turkish patriotism in the new republic: they relinquished the claims (col. 1456)

connected with their rights as a minority, and many renounced their foreign nationality and became Turkish citizens. Turkish Jewry was represented in parliament by Solomon Adato (from 1946 until his death in 1953) and by Henry Suriano (from 1954).

The Turkish republic was declared a secular state, and Kemal Atatürk, its founder, attempted to erase all signs of the religious-institutional influence of Islam and also to maintain equality of Christianity and Judaism in public life. Even the wearing of the "clerical" garb was prohibited and permitted only to the heads of the autonomous churches.

Tor the Jews the prohibition on teaching Hebrew in schools was a hard blow. After Atatürk's death in 1938 many of the prohibitions he introduced were eased (e.g., the use of Arabic during the services in the mosques), but the general attitude toward the religious minorities remained unchanged.

Economic Activities.

[Jews become normal non-Muslims and don't play significant role any more - second-class citizens]

In 1926 G. Bie Raondal, the U.S. consul general in Istanbul, wrote:

"In the former Ottoman Empire they [the Jews] occupied important government positions, but the tendency of the new nationalism, ushered in by the republic, has been to put them in the same relative position as other non-Muslims, although they have never been persecuted in Turkey. [Now they] have carved out for themselves a place in every branch of the national life and are found as traders, bankers, professional men, office workers, and even laborers" (Turkey, 1926).

Since 1926 many changes have occurred in modern Turkey, and the Jewish community has dwindled to an insignificant minority from the economic aspect. Although the severe blow of the capital tax (see below) was only temporary, it had a psychological effect on the Jewish community and was one of the causes of Jewish emigration from the country.

Jewish national life did not develop in *Istanbul and the towns which remained within the boundaries of Turkey; the Zionist idea had only a few followers in the capital. The  negative attitude of the Turkish government to Zionism was a heritage from Young Turk and Ottoman times, and influenced Turkish Jews. However, the idea of full integration in the Turkish state appeared to be unrealistic.> (col. 1457)

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Sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15,
                            col. 1456
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15, col. 1456
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15,
                            col. 1457-1458
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15, col. 1457-1458
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15,
                            col. 1459-1460
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15, col. 1459-1460
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15,
                            col. 1461-1462
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15, col. 1461-1462
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15,
                            col. 1463-1464
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: vol. 15, col. 1463-1464


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