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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 16:17 GMT
Hitler book bestseller in Turkey
Turkish editions of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf
The book has sold 50,000 copies since January
Adolf Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, has become a bestseller in Turkey - sparking fears of growing anti-Semitic feelings in the country.

The book has sold more than 50,000 copies since January.

Analysts fear that the Middle East conflict and the US-led war on Iraq might have fuelled extremist ideology.

Turkey has been a Jewish-friendly place since the times of the Ottoman empire, when a sultan offered protection to Jews fleeing from 15th century Spain.

A cheap paperback version selling at the equivalent of $4.50 (2.30) is currently among Turkey's top bestsellers.

Ogus Tektas, the owner of Mephisto, one of the publishers which re-issued the 500-page book, told AFP news agency Mein Kampf had always been "a sleeper, a secret bestseller".

Some feel there is an international conspiracy led by what they call the crusaders - meaning the US and maybe the West in general and the Zionists
Dogu Ergil, political scientist
"We took it out of the closet for purely commercial reasons," he said, adding his company was only interested in making money.

But the owner of another publishing house, Sami Kilic, acknowledged the book was being bought primarily by young people influenced by international politics.

Conspiracy theories

Dogu Ergil, a political scientist at Ankara University, told the BBC he believed recent developments in Iraq and the Middle East might have fomented anti-Semitic and anti-American feelings among right-wing ultranationalists and extremist Islamists.

"There has been no objective reason for anti-Semitic feelings to crop up in Turkey," he said, adding that Hitler has always been considered "a criminal" and "a maniac" in his country.

"However, some feel there is an international conspiracy led by what they call the crusaders - meaning the US and maybe the West in general and the Zionists."

He said people from different backgrounds, such as left- and right-wingers and Islamists, had found common ground - "not on a common agenda for the future, but on their anxieties, fears and hate".

Mein Kampf was written by Hitler in 1925 and first published in Turkey in 1939.

Turkey has a 22,000-strong Jewish population, mostly living in Istanbul.

Bavaria, the German state that holds the rights of Hitler's work, has fought to prevent publishing houses around the world from publishing it.

"Mein Kampf," or "My Struggle," is banned from sale in Germany, where it can only be found in libraries for research purposes.


SEE ALSO:
Protest at Czech Mein Kampf
23 Mar 00 |  Europe
Hitler shelved by Online bookshop
20 Aug 99 |  Business
Emerging from the Nazi shadow?
19 Jul 04 |  Europe
Timeline: Germany
21 Sep 04 |  Country profiles



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