Turks boy­cott top writer

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY NATHALIE ROTHSHILD

TURK­ISH-JEWISH NOV­EL­IST Mario Levi says he “does not feel safe” in Tur­key due “strong an­ti­semitic cur­rents”.

Mr Levi’s books were re­cently among the tar­gets of a boy­cott campaign which called on peo­ple not to buy “Jewish prod­ucts”.

Mr Levi ( be­low) has re­ceived both sup­port­ive and in­sult­ing mes­sages, with some urg­ing him to con­demn Zion­ism and one per­son writ­ing: “You’re Jewish and like a virus.” But the boy­cott of his books fell flat af­ter Turk­ish politi­cians spoke up against it.

Mr Levi called the sit­u­a­tion “para­dox­i­cal”, say­ing: “It’s the first time in my life that I have ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing like this. I couldn’t even have imag­ined just how much peo­ple like my books and how much they sup­port me, nor could I have imag­ined that an­ti­semitism is so strong in Tur­key.”

Since the start of the war in Gaza, vi­o­lent mass ral­lies have been held in Tur­key. Newly elected pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan has said that while the gov­ern­ment is re­spon­si­ble for Jewish cit­i­zens’ safety, com­mu­nity lead­ers must speak out against Is­rael.

MrLe­vi­saidthe­gov­ern­ment­was“not pro-Jewish” but that the big­gest threat comes from “un­cul­tured peo­ple” and “fa­nat­ics”.

“The at­mos­phere is not good and I do not feel very safe, but I be­lieve things will change in a pos­i­tive way. Once the sit­u­a­tion changes in Gaza, an­ti­semitism wi l l b e f o r g o t t e n be­cause it is not sys­tem­atic here.”

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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