1. Turkey was once Israel's best friend in the Middle East. Is this changing, or is it only the current government of Mr. Erdogan that is opposed to Israel?
In Turkey, in general, there is no question of being totally against our Jewish friends. Turkey and Israel are two countries who have sound and deep routed relations in the region. And there would be no change in that. Mr. Prime Minister
Mr. Prime Minister’s being against Israel or our Jewish brothers is out of question. As a matter of fact he himself repeatedly stated that he does not adopt an attitude against whole Israel or all the Israeli citizens, but that he only voiced the points he deemed at fault. That is a very normal situation. As Turkish nation we want the continuance of Israel’s existence in peace, its being more comfortable and all its citizens to be in peace and safety. The settling of the Jews in that land, their residing in those lands and their being free, is something that we would never be uncomfortable about, but on the contrary it is something that we would be very pleased with. We were the ones who sailed with private ships in 1492 and saved our Jewish brothers and house them in the lands that they will live safely. When Hitler targeted the Jews psychopathically, we were the ones who struggled with all our might to protect them. We have lived friendly and brotherly together with our Jewish brothers, we have always provided good means for them, we always wanted them to live in ease and comfort and that will be the case from now on as well. That is because such an attitude is the requisite of the morality of the Qur’an. A person who genuinely abides the Qur’an and our Prophet (saas) cannot act on the contrary. Just like Muslims being obliged to approach the Jews friendly and brotherly, also the devout Jews are obliged to approach Muslims amicably. According to the Torah and the Jewish faith, Muslims are B’nai Noah. Both Muslims and Jews believe in the One Allah, they both live by the revelations of Allah and they both obey the messengers sent by Allah. The point of view and approach of sincerely devout Jews and Muslims should be according to this fact. Both Muslims and Jews believe in One Allah Who Created the whole universe and the living beings. Both believe that we all are the servants of Allah and that we will turn to Him. There is no reason for them to be up against each other. Muslims and Jews, both love and respect the same Prophets. The Prophet Abraham (pbuh), Prophet Isaac (pbuh), Prophet Joseph (pbuh) or Prophet Moses (pbuh) are just as much important for the Muslims, as they are for the Jews. The lands, that these holy people live on and serve Allah on, is as holy for Muslims, as it is for the Jews. Then it is love and compassion that should rule in these Holy Lands. The core values of Israel are also sacred for the Muslims. The word “Israel” is the name of the Prophet Jacob (pbuh) who is praised in the Qur’an and is cited with respect by all Muslims. For Muslims, the hexagram of Prophet David is also a sign for a Prophet. The synagogues are places of worship that the Muslims should protect according to the Qur’an (Surat al Hajj, 40). Then the members of these two religions should be able to live altogether in peace.
2. If Mr. Erdogan and those like him remain in power, is there a risk of Turkey becoming Israel's most dangerous antagonist in the region?
There can never be such a risk. On the contrary, the existence of Turkey is a safeguard for Israel. Jews are entrusted to us by the Prophet Moses (pbuh), they are immaculate people who are under our protection. Their living freely in those lands, their being able to perform their religious services as they like, their being able to carry on their trade as they wish, their being able to settle down wherever they like, their being completely comfortable, not only in that region but also in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon as well, is something that we would really be happy about and that we would genuinely want. We are not a state in search of hostility. We are a state that wants love, brotherhood, friendship. We are a nation who doesn’t compromise from justice for anyone, a nation who will be by the persecuted no matter which faith he is from, a nation that will defend the truth until the end. And that is a very important assurance and guarantee for Israel. We will be the first ones to stand up for any kind of threat that might be aimed at Israel. We have immaculate devout brothers there, they believe in One Allah, they have been devotedly committed to the Prophets for 2000 years, they love Allah very much, they fear Allah very much. We, of course, will watch over such beautiful people. They are the descendants of the Prophets, and to look out for and to protect the descendants of the Prophets, is our responsibility before anyone else’s. The system of antichrist (antimessiah) might attempt to create turmoil, to provoke conflict, to shed blood, we come up against this hoax and we will never let it happen insha’Allah (God willing). We will never let a single strand of hair on a devout Jew, a genuine Christian and a sincere Muslim be harmed for as long as we exist. For that reason our brothers in Israel should not be concerned in vain.
3. How is the feeling among average Turks toward Israel today?
Turkish nation constitutes of intelligent, exquisite, well-mannered, mature, well-disposed, open minded people who are respectful towards faith, people who feel compassion for both Jews and Christians, people who delight from protecting and watching over them. Turkish Nation has always approached the Jews with compassion and had always been their protector. You can never find anyone in Turkey who would support the psychopathic moves of Hitler. There will never be a formation in Turkey that would harm the Jewish people. Our Jewish brothers in Israel should feel at ease on that subject. Just like it could be in any society, there rarely may be one or two extreme radical people and those might come up with some unreasonable, irrational opinions. But radical thought can never find a broad foundation in Turkey.
4. Does Mr. Erdogan's government and its policies toward Israel enjoy the support of the public?
Mr. Prime Minister always approaches to Jews with compassion, and he also has lots of statements to that end. He has lots of statements predicating that our Jewish citizens are entrusted to us, statements denoting his respect and love for the Israeli people. There is no need for Israel to be uncomfortable about this point. In Turkey, there is no question of being against Israel. What is happening here, is only pointing out when unjust, extreme circumstances occur. And that is something in favor of the Israeli community. Turkey’s standing with justice regardless of the conditions, confirms his trustworthiness. If Turkey did not stand with justice and act according to his interests, if Turkey were to stand not by the right but by the powerful, only then the Israeli community would need to be concerned. But now, there is absolutely no reason for Israel to be concerned insha’Allah. We are living in the days of King Messiah for whom our Jewish brothers were waiting for thousands of years. King Messiah is a man of love, a man of peace, he will embrace everyone with humanity and compassion. He will remove all the weapons from the face of this world, in his times people will use spears as vineyard knives, swords as plows. Amity and brotherhood will prevail everywhere. We, insha’Allah, as the pioneers of that blessed individual, should always adopt an attitude in favor of peace. Violence, extremism, conflict, tension do not become people who wait for King Messiah in fervor and enthusiasm. We all are the children of Hazrat Abraham (pbuh), one side is the sons of Jacob (pbuh) and the other is the sons of Ishmael (pbuh), there is no need for them to not to love one another and live side by side as brothers.