Turkish Chief Rabbi, Muslim, Christian Leaders Condemn Coup


The head of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate, Mehmet Gormez, Orthodox Christian Patriarch Bartholomew I and Hakham Bashi (Chief Rabbi) Ishak Haleva on Saturday issued a joint declaration condemning the coup.

“From wherever and whomever it comes, terror and violence cannot be displayed as a legitimate thing and it cannot be supported,” their statement said, adding that “those who have faith within them cannot approve any killing, as murdering a human being is no different than murdering the whole humanity” . . .

Rabbi Haleva was the deputy to Rabbi David Asseo for seven years and became the new Hakham Bashi after his death in 2002. As a 7-year-old, he came with his father to Istanbul from Edirne, near Turkey’s western border with Bulgaria and Greece, to study in a Jewish school. As a teenager he studied in a yeshiva in Israel to become a rabbi. According to his acquaintances, Haleva was a prankster in his youth, and he still maintains a humorous, informal manner, peppering his words with folksy Hebrew and Turkish sayings.


More on the Hakham Bashi (Chief Rabbi of Turkey):

Hakham Bashi (Ottoman Turkish: حاخامباشی‎, Turkish: Hahambaşı, IPA: [hɑˈhɑm bɑˈʃɯ]) is the Turkish name for the Chief Rabbi of the nation’s Jewish community. In the time of the Ottoman Empire it was also used for the chief rabbi of a particular region of the empire, such as Syria or Iraq, though the Hakham Bashi of Constantinople was considered overall head of the Jews of the Empire . . .

Because of the size and nature of the Ottoman state, containing a far greater part of the diaspora then any other, the position of Hakham Bashi has been compared to that of the Jewish Exilarch.

In the Ottoman Empire, and as such, the Hakham Bashi was the closest thing to an overall Exilarchal authority among Jewry everywhere in the Middle East in early modern times. They held broad powers to legislate, judge and enforce the laws among the Jews in the Ottoman Empire and often sat on the Sultan’s divan.



Good! It needs their condemnation! It is my understanding that civilians were killed in this, and shedding of innocent blood is NEVER justified.


Just wait until the blood starts flowing when Erdogan starts taking revenge on those who tried to oust him and then maneuvers to tighten and secure his position. He is an Islamist who is rolling back the liberal reforms of Ataturk back in the 1920s that put Turkey on the path to becoming a modern country. With Erdogan in power, his sympathies for ISIS and his hatred for the Kurds, you can expect Turkey to slip back into a being more militant.

Also, don’t be surprised if Hagia Sophia, which Ataturk turned from a mosque into a museum, becomes an active mosque again under Erdogan and his like minded brethren. They are already preaching the call to prayer from the minarets that were added to Hagia Sophia.

It’s too bad the coup failed.


Although I do not condone violence and the shedding of innocent blood, I agree with your sentiments about Erdogan.


I just read an article that the suggestion is floating around that Erdogan was behind the coup attempt in order to solidify his position.

“The country’s justice minister confirmed that as many as 6,000 people, ranging from commanders to civil servants, have been detained over the incident.”

He’s already worked against the media and judges who do not do his bidding. Sad.


He purged about 3000 judges from the judiciary, and his popularity has boomed.

Even if he wasn’t behind it, it may end up being his “Reichstag fire.”


Ataturk posited that the army would be the guardian of secular democratic government in Turkey. He knew well how societies composed of Muslims have a tendency toward theocratic authoritarianism as a supposed cure for their society’s ills.

I don’t think there is any serious doubt that Erdogan intends to take Turkey back to an Islamist theocratic state. He also knew the army was the guardian of secular democratic government, which is why he purged the army of its secular-minded officers some time ago. Apparently the concept has not completely died within the armed forces, but it looks like it wasn’t strong enough to succeed.

Erdogan’s seeming success it putting down the revolt is a tragedy. Possibly the Orthodox and Jewish leaders are whistling in the dark. I’m sure it’s hazardous, as a religious minority, to seem to be in opposition to Islamist rule in an Islamic country.


I agree. I think many are walking on eggshells.


Imagine to what chaos Turkey could turn?
There might be a protracted war and devastation.
The Kurds have long been waiting for an opportunity.
There is a part of Turkey which is hardly controlled by Erdogan’s government.
Dreamers of changes often dream of one and all is wrapped completely different for the suffering people. The worst thing on this earth is a protracted war and devastation in which innocent people are suffering, and after the change of regime can get much worst life and far worse existence…


If someone do not approve politics of Erdoğan so should not they organize a poitical party and campaign through politics? Most of people vote for Erdoğan which prove that he is on the right way. Yes Erdoğan may have some faults but generally he is good. He has no any sympathy for ISIS. Kurds have some propblems in Turkey and I think Turks and goverment should retrieval that issue as soon as possible otherwise it will harm Turkey very much. Erdoğan tried too much to advance in issue but unfortunately the process ceased.

The most unfortunate point is that the group which attempt coup is Islamic! I think that group should act in politics but they must not use Islam for their politic goals.

I know the importance of Hagia Sophia for Christians but that is interest in Turkish goverment. After drawing back of Ottoman most of Mosques got destroyed in Europe. Will Europeans build those Mosques back?


He’s on track to make that happen. He’s considering bringing back the death penalty.


Hundreds if not thousands have been arrested and accused of treason including 1/3 of the entire military command.


You thought there was ever a chance that they wouldn’t? Look at the consequences if they appeared to be supporting it.


Well their path into the EU ends if they do.


They should support the coup if they want to stop oppression from the semi-fascist government of Turkey.


I thought 6-10, 000 had been rounded up. where would they hold them all?


In warehouses apparently?



Turkey can say ‘‘goodbye’’ to the visa-free regime with EU, thanks to Erdogan


huh? The thread is about religious leaders statements against the attempted coup. They have no power over joining the EU.


Are you serious? That’s your defense of the actions done to the Hagia Sophia? Those people did this, so we can do it to. That’s the type of excuse a 5 year old gives.


Not necessarily, but please go back a page and read the progression of the thread discussion.

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