Turkish Jewish leader criticizes Spanish citizenship law
by Hasan Ay
ISTANBULJun 12, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Hasan Ay
Jun 12, 2015 12:00 am
With Spain approving on Thursday a law facilitating dual citizenship for descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from the country in 1492, Turkish Jews have moved to apply.
İshak İbrahimzade, the leader of Turkish Jewish community, had criticized the law. İbrahimzadeh said via Twitter that the law was condescending and expressed disappointment that the citizenship depended on conditions. The new law requires applicants to have their Jewish heritage vetted by the Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities, pass tests on Spanish and Spanish culture as well as to travel to Spain at their own expense for application. The law will expire in three years.
The law, which comes into force in October, will pave the way for citizenship to over 3 million Jews around the world.
Turkey, which was among the few countries that accepted Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain during the Ottoman era, hosts about 18,000 Jews, according to figures by the Turkish Jewish community. The majority of them are descendants of Sephardic Jews while the rest are Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews and Romaniote Jews tracing their roots to the Byzantine era before Istanbul's conquest by the Ottomans.
İrfan Güler, a lawyer working as a consultant for Jews seeking citizenship, said he received an unspecified number of applications, mostly from Istanbul where the Jewish population is concentrated. Güler said the Cervantes Institute of Spain, which has branches in Turkey, offered classes in Spanish and Spanish culture for Sephardic Jews. He said the dual citizenship would be a boost for Turkish-Spanish relations.