Turkish governor's wish to morph synagogue into museum raises ire

Abraham Foxman, who runs the ADL, calls move offensive, threatening.

November 24, 2014 06:18

Local synagogue in Edirne, Turkey. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement on Sunday condemning the governor of Turkey's northwest Edirne Province who on Friday called for turning a local synagogue into a museum.

Edirne Governor Dursun Sahin has said Israel's actions in Jerusalem, namely atop the contested al-Aksa Mosque compound, led him to push for the change, which would essentially bar Jews from worshiping at the Buyuk Synagogue. 

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Abraham Foxman who heads the US-based NGO expressed outrage over the governor's "offensive and threatening" threat which seeks to prevent "Jewish worship and ceremonies" at the century-old historic site.

This kind of "hostile" discourse – which Foxman said "did not hide [Sahin's] hatred for Jews" – contributed to the tensions long felt by the Jewish community in Turkey.

Sahin's comments were rejected by top Turkish officials, one of which has said there was no intention to stop the historic building from remaining a place of worship – a reassurance that was well-received by the ADL.

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