ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s government Monday played down soaring sales of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic book “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”) and said there were no racists in the large Muslim country.
Booksellers say “Mein Kampf,” or “Kavgam” in Turkish, has featured among the top 10 bestsellers in the past two months, to the dismay of the country’s small Jewish community and of the German embassy in Ankara.
Asked to comment on the phenomenon, government spokesman Cemil Cicek said: “We cannot allow prejudice against people for belonging to a certain race.”
“We have never had such an attitude in our culture, nor in our history, and we do not have it now … It’s not possible for people to choose their races … Turkish society’s idea about this issue is clear. There is no racism in this country.”…
Gee, Cemil, that’s great. Have you ever thought about applying for the job of Iraqi Information Minister? Oh, and by the way, I suppose there are no trees in Turkey, either, eh?
Anti-Semitism has traditionally been weak in Turkey, a Muslim but secular country that has forged close security ties with Israel in recent years.
The Turkish Ottoman Empire offered refuge to Jews and other minorities fleeing persecution in Europe from the time of the Spanish Inquisition onwards.
That last paragraph is a textbook example of a beast that is slain in a volume called The Myth of Islamic Tolerance.
Political analysts say “Mein Kampf” probably reflects rising nationalism and anti-American sentiment rather than anti-Semitism or specific support for Hitler and his ideas.
Why, of course. These sweet, tolerant Turks couldn’t possibly be indulging anti-Semitic, Hitlerian thoughts. After all, the Ottoman Empire was tolerant.
Many Turks are worried their country is having to make too many concessions to the European Union as it prepares for the start of long-delayed entry talks later this year.
There is also widespread anger about the U.S. occupation of neighboring Iraq.
Yeah, I can see how those things would drive people to read Mein Kampf. Why, just yesterday I was in a bookstore and I heard someone say: “I am so upset about the new earthquakes in Southeast Asia that I am going to buy a copy of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.'”
The current No. 1 bestseller in Turkey, ahead of “Mein Kampf,” is “Metal Storm,” which depicts a U.S. invasion of the country. The Turkish hero avenges his homeland by destroying Washington with a nuclear device.
I am going to get one of my Turkish-speaking contacts to translate that one into English: it will be a sure bestseller among certain segments of the American voting public.