Istanbul Honors A Turkish Nazi

The municipal government of Istanbul, Turkey’s capital and most important city, has chosen to name a park after the “raging racist and antisemite” Husein Nihal Atsiz, a Nazi sympathizer. This deeply disturbing event is reported on here.

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The Istanbul metropolitan municipality’s naming of a park after a writer who showed great sympathy for the Nazi movement’s lethal antisemitism, has largely been ignored in the media outside of the Republic of Turkey.

In November, the Istanbul city government named a park after Hüseyin Nihal Atsız (1905–1975) who is considered by experts of Turkey to be a raging racist and antisemite.

It’s not shocking for those who know Turkey well that Ekrem Imamoglu, the supposedly ‘social democrat’ mayor of Istanbul, supported and approved a bill to name a park in the city after a prominent ultra-nationalist writer and Nazi sympathizer. Turkish ultra-nationalist and supremacist ideology is not a marginal phenomenon, but rather the mainstream,” Dr. Nikos Michailidis Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Mediterranean Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and an expert on Turkey, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

The decision to name the park after this Nazi sympathizer was made not by Erdogan’s AKP, which might have been expected, given Erdogan’s own antisemitism, but by Ekrem Imamoglu, the Mayor of Istanbul and a supposed “social democrat” and reformer opposed to Erdogan and his AKP party. This suggests that the approval for Nazi sympathizers in Turkey is wide and deep. There are no reports that any public protests were made by any Turkish journalist or academician; no reports of even one march against this honoring of a Nazi sympathizer and violent antisemite, someone whom all decent people should want to be shun.

Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist and distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, documented a number of Atsiz’s tirades against Jews. Atsiz wrote that “The Jew here is like the Jew we see everywhere. Insidious, insolent, malevolent, cowardly, but opportunistic Jew; the Jewish neighborhood is the center of clamor, noise and filth here as [the Jewish neighborhoods] everywhere else… We do not want to see this treacherous and bastard nation of history as citizens among us anymore.”

Atsiz wrote that “The creature called the Jew in the world is not loved by anyone but the Jew and the ignoble ones… Phrases in our language such as ‘like a Jew’, ‘do not act like a Jew’, ‘Jewish bazaar’, ‘to look like a synagogue’… shows the value given by our race to this vile nation.”…

Jacob M. Landau, the late professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote that “Atsiz was a great admirer of the race theories of Nazi Germany, expressing some of them repeatedly in his works during the 1930s and 1940s (with the Turks labeled as the ‘master race’). For years, his haircut resembled Hitler’s, and his posture had a military way to it.”

Nihal Atsiz was a raging Nazi and admirer of Hitler, even imitating him tonsorially. He lived for 30 years beyond the end of World War II, when everything about the Holocaust was known, but he never expressed any regret or remorse over his Nazi sympathies. Instead, he continued to write as he had in the 1930s about the malevolent Jews, who deserved even worse than what they got from Hitler.

Writing on the website of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Dr. Efrat Aviv, a senior lecturer in the Department of General History at Bar-Ilan University, noted that “Atsız still has many fans in Turkey. His commemorative ceremony, which is conducted by youngsters from the İyi Parti, is held in Istanbul, an event that attracts members of all other parties as well.”…

Nihal Atsiz has not been forgotten in Turkey. Instead, he continues to be publicly recognized. An annual ceremony to commemorate him is held in Istanbul, and people of all parties attend to honor a genocide-promoting antisemite, just as bad as the thigh-slapping German Nazis enjoying a schnapps and sharing a laugh after a hard day of murdering Jews.

Michalides said that, “With the exception of the pro-Kurdish HDP, and some liberal as well as a few social democrat politicians, all the other parties in the Turkish parliament are inspired – to different degrees – by openly racist ideologies and employ relevant rhetoric, with either an Islamist or a Kemalist façade.” Kemalism is the founding ideology of modern, secular Turkey, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire….

From Michalides’ report, it is clear that a great many Turkish politicians are supremacist in their ideologies. Only a handful of Turkish politicians — “liberals” and “social democrats” — resist this belief that Turks are the best of peoples. And obviously the Kurdish HDP party does not accept Turkish supremacism. Just as Muslims are told in the Qur’an that they are the “best of peoples,” Turkish Islamists see themselves as the first among Muslims. Turks, after all, are the last people who possessed the Caliphate, and for 400 years; surely they are “the best of the best of peoples.” Turkish Kemalists, on the other hand, see the Turks as deserving to lead a pan-turanian superstate. At their most extreme, Turkish nationalists end up seeing Turkey as the natural leader of the tens of millions of Turkic peoples in Central Asia, including those in the five “stans” – Turkistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgizstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan.

“The current US administration can very well start by recognizing the genocide of the Armenians and the other Christians of Asia Minor committed by the Young Turks and their successors,” [Michalides] said. “The Turkish state’s persistent denial of atrocities committed in the past enhances and reproduces hate speech, racism and aggressive behavior against citizens (Kurds, Alevis and others) and neighboring countries today.”

Michailidis added that “We are talking about an ideological and political cancer that has been normalized and whitewashed for decades. This is a huge problem and the key to understanding Turkish internal and foreign policies. While the EU and the US strongly criticize and oppose the rise of Nazi ideologies in European countries, and rightly so, they fail to raise the same criticism when it comes to Turkey, a NATO member-state and once an aspiring candidate for EU membership. This is especially troubling when considering that in Turkey, this phenomenon is not marginal, but rather mainstream.”

The Americans have recognized the Armenian genocide, though not the mass killings by the Turks of other Christians, such as the Greeks. As for the rise of Nazi-like ideologies in Turkey, it’s true that the EU and the US have failed to criticize the Turkish political establishment for allowing such a development. They have been focused on other aspects of Turkish behavior, such as the neo-Ottomanism of Erdogan, and his establishing Turkish military bases in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Somalia. Perhaps such articles as these will remind those in the U.S. and the E.U. that the “master race” beliefs of many Turks need to be exposed and attacked head on. They could start by making formal protests to the Turkish government, demanding that it reconsider the grotesque honoring by the city of Istanbul of Nihal Atsiz, a genocidal antisemite and Hitler admirer, in naming a park after him.

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