mayor

The Jewish population in Istanbul had their golden period in the 16th century. Because of the confidence the Sultans had for the Jews, all the financial affairs of the Ottoman Empire were handled by the members of the different Jewish communities. At the end of the 16th century, Jews were also famous for their political and medical abilities. The Ottoman Jews for loyal to the Sultans and to the Empire. For example, when Ahmed Pasa was assigned as the governor of Egypt, he got greedy and decided to revolt against the Sultan. He asked to the head money lender, Abraham Kastro, to print money for him but Kastro, despite the treat to his life, refused to betray the Empire.

In the 18th century, the competition created by foreign, Greek, and Armenian merchants and the growing influence of the religion over the Ottoman government caused the regression of the Jews. Because of those facts, the Ottoman Jews, especially those living in the capital supported actively the reforms of the 19th century. As a result, the Ottoman Jews received the status of “citizens”, as opposed to Minority. Like that they were having the same rights than the Muslims living in the Empire. In the verdict announced the Jews, like the Muslims, were not mentioned directly, but they were referred as Citizens of the Ottoman Empire. Catholics, Orthodox, Armenians, and all other minorities were mentioned directly.

The completion between Jews and Christians dated back to the 17th century. In their struggles to improve their conditions, the Jews had to deal more with other minorities. With the politic support of the European countries and the financial support of the British bankers, the Christian minorities took over the financial superiority over the Jews. The most important of the incident against the Jews was the “blood rebels” and the publication of a decree protecting the Jews by the Sultan Abdulmecid.

The 1st World War and the occupation years following the war were the opportunity for the Jewish community to prove their loyalty to their country. The occupation of the Ottoman Empire was for the Jews, the occupation of the only country which welcomed and accepted them when they were kicked out from their homeland. And the Turkish Jews, like all other Turkish citizen, have claimed, fought, suffered and bled for their land.