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Turkish students spark criticism for giving Nazi salute to Jewish high school students

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Students from an İstanbul high school have attracted criticism for giving a Hitler salute to students from a Jewish high school during a football match, Avlaremoz, an online platform that focuses on antisemitism, reported on Wednesday.

According to Avlaremoz, İzzet Stamati, president of the Registered Trademark Association (TMD), said in a tweet that the football team of Üsküdar American Academy, a private coeducational high school, collectively gave a Nazi salute to the players of the Ulus Private Jewish High School after scoring a goal during a match on Tuesday.

Stamati’s tweet was addressed to the Education Ministry and the Turkish Jewish Community, which replied that they had been informed of the incident and were taking the necessary steps.

Üsküdar American Academy confirmed the incident in a written statement released on Twitter, saying that they were “deeply saddened” by the “wrong action” committed by some of their players and that they stand against all kinds of discrimination.

“We have urgently contacted the school officials of Ulus Private Jewish High School, conveyed our sadness and launched the necessary investigation. We respectfully announce to the public that we will follow the issue with sensitivity and importance,” the statement added.

Journalists and social media users criticized the students for the salute as well as their parents and teachers for the way they raised them, saying it was an act of “vulgarity.”

“[This is] not Nazi Germany or the 1940s, but today’s Turkey… First, their parents should be ashamed and then their teachers,” Karel Valansi,  a columnist for the Shalom newspaper, tweeted.

Twitter user Aytek Soner Alpan said that most of the students of Üsküdar American Academy were planning to do their higher education in the US or Europe and that he hoped that the Nazi salute would be reported to the necessary authorities and they would pay a price for it.

Roksi S. Levent, a graduate of Üsküdar American Academy, said she “condemned” the salute and was “deeply saddened to see my school come to this.”

An Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Germany from 1933 until his death in 1945, Adolf Hitler rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming chancellor in 1933 and then assuming the title of Führer und Reichskanzler in 1934. He started World War II in Europe by invading Poland in 1939, was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust, the genocide of 6 million Jews and millions of other victims.

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