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Let's listen to the Jews for a change

Reader comment on item: Is Turkey Going Rogue?
in response to reader comment: Ironically, Ottoman Jews were better tolerated than their Turkish successors

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Oct 6, 2011 at 17:38

Jon Ozdamar wrote :

" Salonikan Jews prospered in the classical Ottoman era (even though they were officially classified as Dhimmis). The ornate textiles of the Janissary corp., the elite division of the Ottoman Military, were exclusively woven by the Jews of Salonika. Their prosperity however gradually diminished in correlation with the disbandment of the Janissaries in 1826."

Now this idyllic picture outlined by a Turk should be compared with a contrasting view of the Jewish Encyclopedia published between 1901-1906 :

"The destruction of the janizaries in the early part of the nineteenth century (1826) was a great boon to the Jews; for this lawless corps of soldiery had long been such a terror to them that the word "janissaro" was (and still is ) used by Jewish mothers to frighten their disobedient children. The word "janizary" (Turkish, "yenicheri") was applied to soldiers recruited from Christians who as children had been taken away from their parents and brought up in the Mohammedan faith. The corps was first instituted in the middle of the fourteenth century. No Jews appear ever to have been forced into this service; but they suffered most from the excesses of this unruly military body. Nearly every great fire in Constantinople started in the Jewish quarter, being lighted by greedy janizaries, who then pretended to help to quench the flames, while in reality they plundered the houses. The rabbinical responsa from the sixteenth to the nineteenthcentury are full of cases submitted to Jewish tribunals concerning the outrages, assassinations, and robberies of which the Jews were victims at the hands of these soldiers, both in Constantinople and in the provinces."

> "You abuse the term "Dhimmi" because Jews in fact were better tolerated in the Islamic Ottoman Empire than in the secular Republic of Turkey. It is painfully ironic." <

Well, if you find a Kemalist state-sponsored pogroms, extortions and blackmails of Jews much worse than janissary-sponsored regular great fires in the Jewish quarters with "outrages,assasinations, and robberies" taking place "both in Constantinople and in the provinces", then one might agree with you. Otherwise one is tempted to see rather a strange continuity of the Ottoman mindset and behavior in Kemal's Turkey towards the Jews.The modern janissaries of 'secularism' seem to have well learnt their Jewish lesson from their bektashi predecessors.

Submitting....

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