Growing anti-Semitism, an Islamist government, hostility toward Israel, and assimilation threaten the survival of the Jewish community of Turkey, which is now thought to number 15,000 souls. In a synagogue in Istanbul, there is a helmet under every seat in case of another attack like the 2003 truck bombings that left 27 dead. Avi Lewis writes:
With an illustrious 700-year history behind them, Turkey’s Jews now seem wedged between a rock and a hard place. While outbursts of anti-Semitic rhetoric and growing hostility toward Israel under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan make the community increasingly uneasy, some Jewish leaders say they are just as concerned over assimilation, intermarriage, and emigration. But they remain adamant that Jewish life will persist here, regardless of the growing intolerance and Islamization of Turkish society.
A spokesman for the Jewish community’s official [organization] says Turkey’s Jews are dismayed by the uptick in anti-Semitic speech and media articles but still try, in their limited capacity, to bring these issues to the attention of the public and government to solve them via the legal system. . . .
While some members are indeed in the process of leaving because of the anti-Semitic environment, others are staying put, and a small number are even returning. The general consensus is that of a highly ambivalent community taking a wait-and-see approach to political developments.