Mein Kampf sales soar in Turkey
Helena Smith in Athens
Tuesday March 29, 2005
Mein Kampf, the book Hitler wrote in prison before he rose to power in 1933, has become a bestseller in Turkey, provoking consternation.
The dreams of creating a master race are being snapped up by young Turks. Its publishers believe that more than 100,000 copies have been sold in the past two months.
Its sudden appeal has alarmed Turkey’s Jewish community and is causing concern in the EU. A German diplomat said its success “might not give the right signals” to Europeans in advance of Turkey’s opening accession talks in October.
“Obviously we’re very concerned,” Ivo Molinas, one of Turkey’s 25,000 Jews, said in Istanbul. “This is a democratic country and the book can’t be banned, but it would be good if the Turkish government openly said they don’t like it being sold. Unfortunately, there has been no such approach.”
Although Jews have been assured by booksellers and the publishers that their motives are “purely commercial and not ideological”, Jewish officials say the book’s popularity has coincided with a wave of anti-semitic articles in the press.
Mr Molinas, a columnist in the weekly Shalom, said: “There has been a big increase in articles attacking us in the fundamentalist and national ist press, because of what is happening in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian problem and the war in Iraq.
“That has affected readers, and I think boosted sales of Mein Kampf.” Analysts believe the book’s popularity is related to a rise in nationalism and anti-US sentiment since the invasion of Iraq. A survey last month by the Metropoll Strategic and Social Studies Centre showed that half Turkey’s 70 million people were convinced the country was surrounded by enemies.
Many Turks fear that joining the EU will expose their country to permissiveness and force them to give up treasured traditions.