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[Turkish tolerance !]


Since the day they appeared in history, Turks never had religious bigotry. Everybody could choose whichever religion he pleases. They had not grown any hostility towards foreign nationalities, their religions, languages, cultures and traditions. They also had not tried to impose their language and religion to others. The Turks have taken and enjoyed the Muslim religion with wide tolerance. They have shown this tolerance to both those who were of their religion and to those of a different religion.

The Ottomans have also welcomed the Jewish who suffered from suppression and tyranny and saved them from the Holocaust. For the Jewish who were supressed under the Byzantine, the Ottomans who conquered Bursa in 1324 had been like a savior. The Jewish had comfortably formed their communities under Ottoman administration and the Etz Hayyim Synagogue had been built with the permission and support of Orhan Bey. When Edirne became the capital of Ottomans, the European Jews including Karaites had immigrated here. The Jews who were exiled from Hungary in 1376, France and Sicily in 1394 settled here and achieved safety. Rabbi Izhak Sarfati, in a letter to the Jewish communities in Europe advised them to settle in the Otoman land in order to be save themselves from the pressure they went through under the Christian administration and that they would find safety and wealth only there.When Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul in 1453, he met a Jewish community much too distressed from the Byzantine pressure. He gave the necessary orders so that these people who welcomed him with love could live in peace. In 1470, the Jews who were exiled from Bavaria took refuge in the Ottoman Empire. The settlement of Jews, who had been exposed to massacre and exile by the Christian nations in Spain and Portugal, to the Ottoman land during the period of Sultan 2nd Beyazid is another example of how wide the tolerance in the Muslim Turks is. The Ottoman navy under the command of Kemal Reis brought the exiled Jews and Muslims who survived the massacre to the Ottoman land. Eventually before the 2nd World War many Jews fleeing from the nazi tyranny in Germany had again found shelter in the Turkish land. While the Jewish communities in many European countries lived with the worries of antisemitist racist attacks, the Jewish community in our country has always been in peace and safe.