Your Honorable Governor,
Honorable General Director of Foundations
Our dear friends
Our dear brothers who came to Edirne again from Istanbul with enthusiasm
You honored us by sharing our table and making your table our table in this Holy Ramadan Iftar to put an end to your abstinence.
You are welcome...thank you...
Today, we met together again for a first time event here.
We thank our honored President Mr. Erdoğan, Vice Prime Minister Mr. Bülent Arınç and Minister of Culture and Tourism Mr. ÖmerÇelik, who could not attend our meeting here but contributed us with their messages especially.
We would perform our Iftar in the garden of our Edirne Synagogue, but due to adverse weather conditions it was not possible therefore we thank the Honored Rector of Trakya University Mr. Yener and Regional Director of Foundations Mr. Osman, who spent efforts to allocate this Kervansaray to us.
This evening, we experience another first event here. The elected Mssrs. Muftis of Iskeçe and Gumulcine honored us with their presence. Our honored muftus you are welcome and please forward our love and compliments to the communities in Western Trakya and our brothers there.
Our life, which started to terminate with the first breaking in Trakya events of 1934, took a new turn with the decision of the General Directorate of Foundations 3 months ago, assuming the responsibility to repair all of the past sorrow with the restoration of our Edirne Synagogue. Perhaps, this turning point that I name a beginning,wouldit be successfully transmitted to the future?
Would this building restored magnificently, even prettier than its ancient state become the transformation symbol of a disappearing approach, be an example for the reparation of the past events?
Even during this short time the Synagogue was visited by thousands of foreign and local people, we came to our Synagogue several times with a great enthusiasm each time, we integrated with our Synagogue and Edirne.
We opened our 3th exhibition today and our enthusiasm continues and develops progressively.
Of course Edirne is our frontier to West and we arrived to Edirne in hundredths unable to find a place in coaches , our arrivals in that manner caused some misunderstandings.
Especially at the same time period,Spain offered citizenship to Sephardic Jews, some started to create the false perception that we are preparing to leave these lands, with the effect of anti-Semitic discourse increasing unfortunately in our country in recent times.
I would like to say something on this subject with your permission.
Apology through enfranchisement of Sephardic Jews is a request of reparation of what has been done to people, Sephardic Jews among them with the Code adopted in Spain 500 years ago, sorrow experienced during Inquisition disaster, obligation to convert under threat of death or leave the lands, where you are living since centuries.
While we appraise this evolution, the code adopted is depending on some conditions and it is important to emphasize that this excuse contuses the spirit of the intended repair.
Unfortunately, applications made for this return of the rights were announced as a preparation to quit our Turkey, which does not help building of the future.
In other words, yes we come to our border city Edirne in fully crowded coaches but we return from there to our home in Istanbul, İzmir, Bursa, or Antalya again...
On the other hand it is true that our community decreasing demographically still experiences the threat and unease of the anti-Semitic discourses increasing in a dreadful manner, conspiracy theories and provocations.
These facts have gained proportions to make us question our future life.
However, moving beyond Edirne is not a solution for these problems.
The solution is to expand throughout Turkey the approach that we started in Edirne and succeed to develop with all of the institutions.
We must and shall continue struggle to eradicate all of the hatred and discrimination from my Turkey and our Turkey, not onlytheAnti-Semitic aspect of the discourse but all of the harm done by hatred and discriminative discourse.
Although we experience some contradictions today, our responsibility towards Turkey is to be able to and make such struggle; because Turkey embraced us to protect our beliefs, identity, culture, traditions 500 years ago and becoming a homeland for us assured even a better protection for the earnings we acquired from the lands that we were dismissed than those people still leaving there .
This is the essential truth and requirement of the doctrine of our beliefs and approach of citizenship.
This is why, to the question I asked with "Perhaps" 3 months after the opening of our Edirne synagogue, I reply with the power I find here "Yes, we can do it" we can manage to eradicate hatred and discrimination from our lands and I want to believe in this.
I thank you Edirne, you achieved the way to breach our prejudices under the guidance of our foundations.
You proved to all of us that lamentations can turn into chants when discourses of togetherness are put in practice.
While terminating my words, I wish that your fasting and iftar tables be an opportunity for our internal accounting and give place to the Creator and a world embracing with love what was created by our Creator, which is "Unique" within us.
Today, in Edirne, where our community does not live actively any more, thanks to the enthusiasm and courage you contributed to us we make an iftar for the first time and I wish to repeat the same event in our Gaziantep Synagogue next year, which was again restored by our foundations, but where we cannot integrate with the same enthusiasm, and present you all my love and respect.