Turkey Flag 58.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Jewish billionaire Alexander Machkevitch blasted Turkey this week, claiming that persistent reports in the national media implicating him in a sex scandal were part of a plot by Ankara to ruin his reputation.
Machkevitch, who is also the head of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress – one of the five branches which make up the World Jewish Congress – told The Jerusalem Post through a spokesman that he believes he was targeted by Turkish authorities because of his role in Jewish and Israeli affairs.
“It appears as if the formal Turkish authorities are promoting these publications, and by using the Israeli flag in some of them they are more than implying about their motivation,” the Kyrgyzstan- born mining magnate who has dual Kazakhstani and Israeli citizenship said in a press release on Monday. “We assume that as a senior leader in the Jewish world Machkevitch is a suitable target in the Turkish anti-Israeli campaign.”
For weeks reports in the Turkish media have been quoting unnamed sources linking Machkevitch to an alleged raid by Turkish police on a yacht carried out in late September in which several businessmen and prostitutes were taken into custody. Two of the latter were said to be underage.
Machkevitch confirmed that he was on board of the said vessel at the time that Turkish police boarded but denies being taken into custody or any knowledge of wrongdoing.
“Machkevitch was on a business trip in Turkey, and while taking a business cruise with few of his colleges and friends, their yacht was boarded for what was appeared to Machkevitch as a simple inspection by a coast guard patrol,” Machkevitch’s spokesperson said.
“Needless to say there was not any illegal, or immoral behavior on board the vessel. Machkevitch was not a suspect at any stage.”
Repeated inquiries throughout with the Turkish Embassy in Israel, the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Turkish journalists over the past week have failed to either confirm or deny Machkevitch’s said involvement in the affair.
Michael Schneider, the WJC secretary-general, commented on the affair on Wednesday. “While the boat incident has no direct bearing on the World Jewish Congress we are concerned about the incident and have requested clarification from Mr. Machkevitch as to his role in this affair and await his response,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Post