Turkey, World

Turkish-born Jewish woman returns home after 69 years

‘l am very happy. My dream came true,’ Rasel Kazes tells Anadolu Agency after landing in Istanbul

Fatih Erel   | 24.05.2019
Turkish-born Jewish woman returns home after 69 years


After more than half-a-century away from home, Rasel Kazes took off Thursday from Argentina and landed in Turkey. 

Kazes, 85, whose origin dates to Sephardic Jews who migrated from Spain to Ottoman lands, left Turkey at the age of 16 and migrated to Argentina with her husband.

She did not get an Argentinian identity card of her own will.

Her biggest wish was to visit Turkey on a Turkish passport.

"l am very happy. My dream came true," she told Anadolu Agency after landing in Istanbul.

The expulsion of the Jews from Spain was ordered in 1492 by Catholic monarchs through the Edict of Granada, or the Alhambra Decree, to drive Jews out of their territories.

Many Jews settled in Istanbul's Galata neighborhood, Kazes’ birthplace in the Aegean city of Izmir and present-day northern Israeli city of Safed.

Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II accepted Jews in Turkey, lending help in their difficult circumstances.

"l will stay six days in Istanbul. After that, l will go to Gelibolu where l got married,” she said. “My husband died four years ago after a 65-year marriage. He wanted to return to Turkey where he did his army duty for 3 years. But, he could not.”

Kazes thanked the Turkish ambassador in Buenos Aires and embassy staff who helped her during the process.

She said she plans to stay in Turkey for 25 days before returning to Argentina.

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