Spanish Embassy refutes New York Times, says no Turkish Jews applied for citizenship

FATIH ŞEMSETTIN IŞIK @semssami
ANKARA
Published 05.06.2015 15:11

Contrary to claims made in The New York Times, the Spanish Embassy in Ankara has not received any applications for Spanish citizenship from Turkish citizens.

In a statement to Daily Sabah on Thursday, the Spanish Embassy in Ankara said that Jews in Turkey are not applying for citizenship in Spain, saying: "No applications have yet been processed." It is also said that the law of return Spain is currently legislating for Jews to return to the country is still at the draft level. "The law that is mentioned is still in the process of being drafted," the embassy said in the statement.

Turkey's Jewish community has previously rejected allegations in the aforementioned article in a statement to Daily Sabah. The community refuted the accusation that they were under pressure from the Turkish state and said: "Pressure from the state is out of the question."

The community pointed to a speech by İshak İbrahimzadeh, the head of Turkey's Jewish community, at the opening ceremony of the Great Edirne Synagogue, which was re-opened on March 26, in which he declared his gratitude to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for "creating a change" in minority rights in Turkey.

Turkish Jews are legally represented by the chief rabbi, or "hahambaşı," who has been elected since 1961. In 2001, the Jewish Museum of Turkey was founded by the Quincentennial Foundation, an organization established in 1982 consisting of 113 Turkish citizens, both Jewish and Muslim, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire.

Having migrated to the Ottoman Empire in 1492 under Sultan Bayezid II, the present size of the Jewish community is estimated at around 20,000, the majority of which live in Istanbul, with a community of about 18,000. There are also Jewish populations in İzmir, Adana, Bursa, Çanakkale and other parts of the country.

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