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Top Turk Breaks Bread With Chabad

Mercan tells us he likes the Jews

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Murat Mercan.(Turkish Journal)

Last night, at the Living Legacy gala thrown by Chabad’s Washington arm, American Friends of Lubavitch, at the Mellon Auditorium in D.C., the countries represented read a little like the World Cup qualifier lineup: England, Denmark, South Korea, Australia, New Jersey (Tim Howard, represent!). The roster also included non-qualifiers like Ireland, Belgium, Cyprus—and, perhaps a little surprisingly, Turkey, which has, of course, been at odds with the Jewish state since Israeli commandos raided the Turkish-backed Gaza flotilla more than two weeks ago.

The delegation from Ankara included Murat Mercan, the head of the Turkish parliament’s foreign relations committee and a senior figure in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP Party. As it happens, he also took part in the Gaza-bound Viva Palestina aid convoy earlier this year; since the Memorial Day flotilla raid, he’s been sharply critical of Israel and its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

But last night, he said his problems with Israel had nothing to do with his feelings toward Jews. “Criticizing what the current government is doing does not mean criticizing the Jews,” Mercan told Tablet Magazine. “Jews are an essential part of the Turkish community, and relations between Turkey and the Jews will not be hampered in any way by the actions of the Israeli government.”

Mercan was in town for a few days on a diplomatic mission to address any negative impact on Turkish-American relations arising from the flotilla; his itinerary, he said, included meetings with White House officials, the State Department, and Rep. Howard Berman (D-California), one of the authors of pending economic sanctions legislation against Iran. His appearance at the Chabad dinner, he said, came at the invitation of a Lubavitch rabbi he met in Turkey a few years back. In other words, Mercan quipped, “It was God’s will that I be here!”

With that, Mercan hustled out the porticoed doors and into the muggy night. A pair of Chabad rabbis, curious, asked what he had said, and seemed pleased with the result. “So he listens to what we tell him,” one remarked, and then turned back into the colonnaded ballroom to see what was for dessert.

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And this is what many in Congress are criticizing.

It is a shame that those at Chabad did not challenge Murat Mercan and Turkey, which has become a true enemy of Jews despite their justification for anti-Israel behavior and joining with the Islamists and Hamas.

allenby says:

NICE!
previous commenter is obviously very wrong. Chabad shouldn’t have challenged Mercan with anything. Mercan came there as per invitation, he didn’t come to discuss anything. It’s his personal view of being friendly with Chabad, with Jews anywhere. I guess also that his political views are not in line with turkish government. But he didn’t disclose them of course to the author of this story. He probably disclosed them to Chabad, which is not public. One day he might become a Prime Minister, so I suggest not to discuss him to much.

Mark S. Devenow says:

Amen to Eli. What insolence (adding insult to injury) for this idiot (Mercan) to deign to absolve Jews from responsibility for the (entirely rightful)posture of the lone Jewish sovereign state in defense of its citizens. The next time this jerk alights upon a flotilla bound for Gaza with things from which armaments might be made, I hope Israel arrests him.

Bryna Weiss says:

He should have been disinvited!

Herb says:

Wow! Listen to you selves, disinvite a diplomat from Turkey, put the welfare of the Jews living there on the line to make a point?! Shame on you for suggesting to put Jews lives on the line!

Chabad has a long history of using quite diplomacy (with Soviets, etc.) For the sake of Jews around the world and for Israel. So let’s ascertain more of the facts or at the wait for the WHOLE story before everyone jumps on them.

Tablet should have a little more investigating or have asked a few good questions before publishing such a highly suggestive piece.

Sex shops of yesteryear have confirmed their popularity of currently being dismal and dirty. What with their frosted glass windows hiding a dark and smelly inside filled with a good deal of hardcore porn. The sleazy males going in were of a questionable track record. No woman with a shred of self-respect would at any time be caught in these kinds of an establishment.

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Top Turk Breaks Bread With Chabad

Mercan tells us he likes the Jews

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