25 February 2014  –  MM – The Turkish Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) led by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen will host senior Israeli politicians today as part of its Dialogue of Civilisations Forum in the Turkish capital Istanbul.

The Forum has invited the advisor to the Chief Rabbinate of Turkish Jews Isaac Coleman and the Secretary General of Turkey’s Chief Rabbinate Joseph Alton Tach as well as other board members. The Forum will commemorate the 770 Jews who perished aboard the Struma ship while escaping from Romania in February 1942.

The GYV vice chairman Suat Yildirim who is a close friend of Gulen will chair the Forum. Gulen is known for his conflicting views with the ruling Justice and Development Party led by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Fethullah Gulen schools and universities have several cooperation agreements with Israeli universities allowing Israeli professors to study religious tolerance in Turkey and organising joint activities. Israel insists Turkey drowned the Struma off the coast of Istanbul however international documents show a Soviet submarine flooded the ship.