Introduction / History The history of the Jews in Turkey covers about 2400 years. The Turkish Jews form one of the main non-Muslim communities in Turkey. With the establishment of the State of Israel, they now live in a small Jewish community in Turkey. In the Ottoman Empire, the situation of the Jews was tied to the Sultan's whims. For example, Murad III wanted non-Muslims to be submissive and poor. He forbade non-Muslims to live near the mosque and high buildings. The establishment of the Republic of Turkey lessened Jewish immigration to Israel. Migration began to increase with events seen as signs of hostility towards Jews. Discrimination took place at the beginning of these events. Jews in Turkey supported the State of Israel's establishment. In 1948, with the establishment of the State of Israel, immigration from Turkey increased. These migrations were different from other forced migrations because the Jews emigrated to Israel by their own will. These people have maintained their links with Turkish culture and Turkey. These people are also strong advocates of Israel-Turkey relations.
Where are they located? According to the World Jewish Congress, 95% of the Jews in Turkey live in Istanbul (Constantinople), around 2,500 live in Izmir (Smyrna) and smaller groups live in Adana, Ankara, Bursa, Canakkale, Iskenderun and Kırklareli.
What are their lives like? Anti-Semitism is quite common in Turkey. Antisemitism is generally seen in books, newspapers, and magazines, and most of them are usually from the Islamic side. Some of them hide their names in their daily lives. Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul was attacked at least four times.
What are their beliefs? The majority believe in Judaism. A few have left their religion.
Prayer Points * Pray for the Turkish people to abandon any anti-Semitic thinking.
* Pray for the Turkish Jews to find Christ.
* Pray for the spread of Christianity throughout the Middle East.