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Opposition leader supported by 10% of Turks glorifies memory of Nihal Atsiz

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"Turkishness is a privilege; it is not granted to everyone, especially to those like Jews... If we get angry, we will not only exterminate Jews like the Germans did, we will go further...",' wrote Hüseyin Nihal Atsız in 1934, in admiring Adolph Hitler. In November 2020, a park was named after him in Istanbul. (Photo: uludagsozluk.com)

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When the leader of the nationalist and secularist, the Good Party (Turkish: İyi Parti) of the opposition, paid tribute to Nihal Atsiz (1905 –1975 ) last week, to mark his passing in 1975, Meral Akşener received severe criticism. Protests were mainly seen on social media, and hard messages were exchanged, especially on Twitter.

The reason why she was met with solid protests lies in the personality of Nihal Atsiz, a prominent ultranationalist writer, historian, philosopher that shaped the Pan-Turkism, Turanist movement. Opponent to everything, he declares himself racist, embracing this as a positive qualification rather than a dreadful one.

Years ago, he wrote a testament to his newly born son… the text goes as follows, to give you an idea:

“Communism is enemy. Keep this in mind. Jews are secret enemies to all nations. Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Greeks are our historical enemies. Bulgarians, Germans, Italians, English and French peoples, Arabs, Serbs, Croats, Spaniards, Portuguese people, Romanians are our new enemies. Japanese, Afghanis and Americans are our tomorrow’s enemies. Armenians, Kurds, Caucasians, Bosniaks, Albanians, Pomaks, Georgians, Chechens are our inner enemies. We need to get well-prepared to fight all these enemies. May God help us.”

The Hitlerian rhetoric can easily be traced. Also, it should be noted that this letter was written in May 1941, when German armies had already swept western Europe and France, the glorious winner of the first war was kicked off the scene.

Prior to that, in June 1934, Jews of eastern Thrace [1] experienced the first-ever pogrom. There was an essential Jewish presence in the cities and villages of that region. Some records show 13.000 to 15.000 Jews, nearly all wealthy traders and artisans holding the region’s economic life in hand.

In February 1934, the Government appointed a General Inspector to the region. This was already showing the coming steps of bitterness. Eastern Thrace was a strategic location, next to the border Turkey has with Greece and Bulgaria. It was vastly populated with Greeks (Rums as it’s called in Turkey, coming from Eastern Roman) that were forced to leave their lands after the population exchange was done in 1923–1924. With no Greeks around, it was now the Jewish population that took the role of the “fifth column”. Thus, true or false, it was already a sense of despair reigning over the Jewish communities.

Then in mid-June of the same year, a new law, the Law of Resettlement, went into force. Though the focus of the law was the eastern and southeastern part of the country where an extensive Kurdish population was living, a direct implication was drawn somehow to the Jews of Thrace.

The pogrom during which a person was killed was marked by irresistible oppression, rapes of women, attacks to properties – synagogues, houses, shops etc. – committed by the general population towards their long-time Jewish neighbours. Unfortunately, neither the poliçe nor the military did anything to stop the incident.

Result: Nearly all the region’s communities had to abandon their past in the lands they were born in and left for Istanbul and foreign countries. It was the end of vibrant Jewish life. This has been the fate of the Jewish people for centuries, no matter which period or country they lived in.

Coming back to our story: Nihal Atsız, appointed as teacher of Turkish literature to Edirne Highschool, had the opportunity to brainwash the population there with his ardent antisemitic views. He and another Nazi sympathizer, fellow Cevat Rifat Atilhan, were the main conspirators of the pogrom, called ‘furtuna’ in Judeo Spanish, or storm.

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The antisemitic, xenophobic views of Nihal Atsiz were reflected in the weekly Orhun he was publishing. He was a proud Turk and shaman, opposed to the Republic as it found it too much allied to foreign powers, opposed to Islam as it found it to be too Arabic. In one of his articles, he openly discussed his antisemitic stance. It was about a trip he made to Canakkale, where an essential Jewish population was living:

“Downtown, the city, was crowded with many Jews, Roma, Rum scraps… The Jew here is similar to the Jew we already know. Sneaky, insolent, wormy, coward and opportunist; the Jewish quarter is the one you already know, the center of tout, noisy, dirty and filthy… I read the shop signboards. Nine of ten are those of these ungrateful people. Good with us when we are strong, arrogant and aggressor when we are weak, we don’t want to see these people as citizen among us.”

Another example: “The creature called the Jew in the world is not loved by anyone but the Jew and  the ignoble ones… Phrases in our language such as ‘like a Jew’, ‘do not act like a Jew’, ‘Jewish bazaar’, ‘to look like a synagogue’… shows the value given by our race to this vile nation.”

That was Atlı’s feeling about the Jews.

Some argue that he had nothing to do with the Thrace pogrom… True! He was not among those attacking Jewish targets. He was behind them.

Translation: I commemorate one of the great representatives of our intellectual world and literature #HüseyinNihalAtsız , who dedicated his struggle to the Turkish nation, with respect and mercy…

It was disturbing to see Ms. Aksener, an opposition leader – and a secular woman – determined to bring back the good old days and trying to liberate the country from the yoke of political Islam, praising a racist, a person proud to be so, a person who hated Jews so much that “The best way to cure the Turkish race from this virus is massacre”, for his contribution to Turkish national movement.

Will a government where Ms. Aksener and her Party stands hold that line of Atsız? Or was this only an eyewash to seduce potential supporters still backing President Erdogan?

It remains to follow and see with no further comments.

Marsel Russo was born in Istanbul and was raised in a secular Jewish family. He holds a Chemistry degree and an MBA. His deep interest in the Jewish history of the 20th century, as well as other topics, has appeared since 2005 in Shalom, the weekly newspaper of the Jewish community of Turkey.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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