Towards the end of the Middle Ages, cultural and artistic events were held in the Spanish capital, Madrid, to mark the 530th anniversary of the arrival of the Sephardic Jews in exile from Spain and Portugal by the then Catholic monarchs, most of whom took refuge in the Ottoman lands.
The week-long activities will include exhibitions by photographer Ezet Keribar, “Jews in Turkey”, performances by the Presidency of the State Archives, the Moiz Theater Group from Turkey and the Los Pasharas Sephardis Music Group, and a seminar.
Speaking to the AA correspondent at the start of the event, Turkish Ambassador to Madrid Burak Akapar said, “When you look at Turkish history, this nation has a message for the world. Today we define our foreign policy (development humanitarian foreign policy). The largest refugee population is organized. “The story began 530 years ago. At that time, ships from the Ottoman Empire came here and took the Jews who had been deported to Spain and taken them to Turkey. They are living happily. Since then, Turkey has been enriching our society, our country and our culture. “
“The acceptance of Sephardic Jews by the Ottoman Empire is just one of our messages to the world. When you look at it, Turkish history is full of such stories.” “This year, we started talking about it in Spain, where the story began. In fact, we are not only celebrating the 530th anniversary here, but also highlighting humanity, which is a fundamental feature of the Turkish nation,” Acapar said. Evaluated her.
“I did not feel anything about anti-Semitism in Turkey.”
Renowned photographer Izet Keriber, who is also a Sephardic Jew, says: “I am the one who always reveals that I was born, raised and lived in Turkey. I have never felt anything anti-Semitic in Turkey. “The President’s Grand Prize was awarded 3-4 years ago, and before that, the Ministry of Culture was awarded the Grand Prize. Would these prizes have been given to me if there had been anti-Semitism?”
Explaining his 20-year-old work in the exhibition, Keribar said, “I took these pictures perfectly, without missing the slightest detail, to the best of my ability, with my well-organized knowledge, with love. The feeling is overwhelming. It’s different. A few days ago, during the Israeli president’s visit to Turkey, when I arrived in Istanbul, I took a picture from the inner porch of the synagogue. It is also in this exhibition. ” Used expressions.
“It is our duty to preserve in the best possible way what is happening. We must create works that show the unity, diversity and peaceful life of the Turkish people. We must protect the synagogues in need of recovery, as I have seen in Izmir.” Over the years he has taken pictures, witnessed many changes and emphasized the importance of preserving the values of the past.
“When they ask us, we always say (we are Turkish).”
Suwat Aluf, on the other hand, who came from a Sephardic Jewish family who took refuge in the Ottoman lands, said:
“We’ve been in Istanbul for 7-8 generations. I was born and raised in Istanbul. My father and grandfather were shopkeepers in Tahtakale, Eminonu. So, we are the people of this country and we grew up the way we saw them. Always say (we are Turkish). I tell you this with memory. On October 28, 2016, my dad was in the intensive care unit at the hospital, but he was alone. We went to see him. He told me (what month is today?) I said 28 Date. He opened his eyes and said (don’t forget to hang the flag tomorrow 29th October). He had a flag from Sumerbank. Every weekend the flag is washed, ironed and hung. It was very important to us. We got it from his father. I learned it. I’m very proud of it. “
Aluf said, “Every year in Sarketchi we are invited to the Iftar table during Ramadan. Two years ago, I attended an Iftar dinner for 600 people. We have an Iftar dinner when it is appropriate. I always feel good about that holiday because it is not your holiday.” “We think of this holiday as a holiday for all of us because we are the people of this country. Ramadan and other holidays are a matter of great pride.” Used expressions.