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Board express solidarity with Turkey

Last updated: 2003-11-19

The Board of Deputies met with the Ambassador of Turkey to express solidarity with the people of Turkey and pass on condolences to victims of all religions, killed or injured in Saturday's bombings in Istanbul.

The Board delegation, led by Senior Vice President Jerry Lewis and Vice President Flo Kaufmann, met with His Excellency Mr Akin Alptuna, along with senior members of his consular staff. All in attendance highlighted Turkey's status as a refuge for Jewish people since the time of the Spanish Inquisition, and Turkey's close ties to the Israeli people.

The Ambassador elaborated on similarities between the problems faced by the two nations: "We suffered terrorism in the 1980s and 90s. More than 30,000 innocent Turks lost their lives.  The Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and senior politicians have all made statements that the fight against terrorism will be stronger - this bombing will be the momentum for closer relations to this end".

The Ambassador further commented on the contribution Turkish Jews had made in developing and contributing to Turkish society and he expressed his desire to maintain strong links with the British Jewish community.

Summing up, Flo Kaufmann said "We identify and express solidarity with the families of those killed and maimed in this horrific cowardly attack.  We feel sure that those responsible for directly targeting innocent Jewish people at a house of prayer on Shabbat morning will be hunted down and brought to justice. It is essential that European governments ensure that everything possible is undertaken to clamp down on this sickening resurgence of antisemitism wherever it occurs."

Also included in the delegation were Sami Shamoon, President of the Middle East Jewish Congress, and Sydney Assor and Edwin Shuker, members of the Board of Deputies International Division.