Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Turkey: Jews file for Spanish citizenship, 'just in case something happens'

Today, the Spanish government wants to make amends for its past misdeeds. Last February, it introduced a bill that would allow descendants of Sephardic Jews around the world to qualify for a Spanish passport. If passed, the law would affect about 3.5 million people. Though Parliament has yet to make a final decision, the bill is almost certain to pass.

"I made an immediate request for a Spanish passport. The same goes for my entire family, and actually all the Sephardic Jews in Turkey that I know," said Besken, speaking with DW. He calls the passport a guarantee, just in case something "happens."

"Then we can easily pack up our stuff and go," he said. "It's a great advantage for us."

Besken's family is well-off. He lives in Bodrum, a chic holiday resort on the Aegean Sea, and works as a civil engineer for the family firm. "I have a good life. I don't really want to leave Turkey," he said. "But in recent years, Jews in Turkey have been facing more and more anti-Semitism. We've even felt it in our everyday business life. For example, a Muslim Turk owed my Jewish friend money. He said: 'I'll give you part of it back. The rest, I'll send to Gaza in your name."
More: DW

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