Elza Niego affair

The 1927 murder in Turkey of a Jewish woman named Elza Niego by a Turkish official sparked an anti-government demonstration at her funeral that authorities regarded as criminal.[1][2][3] The Turkish government alleged that the slogans used in the manifestations were against Turkishness. Following the demonstration, ten Jewish protestors were detained, who were released after thirty days.[4]

Funeral march of Elza Niego


Mourners carrying Elza Niego's coffin

Elza Niego (22) was a typist of the National Insurance Company of Turkey.[5] During a holiday at Heybeli island, a Muslim Turkish official Osman Bey fell in love with her.[5] Osman Bey, who was 30 years older than Elza, would follow Elza around the island.[5] In despair, Elza Niego cut short her vacation and went home. Elza Niego eventually became engaged to a Jewish co-worker. Osman Bey, who was enraged by the engagement, pursued Elza Niego and stabbed her to death with a knife.[5]


During the funeral, a demonstration was held in opposition to the Turkish government.[5] This created an anti-Semitic reaction in the Turkish press.[6] Nine protestors were immediately arrested under the charge of offending "Turkishness", but acquitted from the charges in a first trial.[5] Later, in second trial against nine Jews and also a Russian individual witness to murder was initiated. The defendants were arrested. Four of them were sentenced for the specific offense of "insulting Turkishness".[7]


  1. ^ "Turkish Jewry Agitated Over Murder Case". Canadian Jewish Review. October 7, 1927. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  2. ^ Kalderon, Albert E. (1983). Abraham Galanté : a biography. New York: Published by Sepher-Hermon Press for Sephardic House at Congregation Shearith Israel. p. 53. ISBN 9780872031111. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  3. ^ "TURKEY: Notes, Aug. 29, 1927". Time. Aug 29, 1927. Archived from the original on August 27, 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  4. ^ Bali, Rıfat (2008-09-23). "The 1934 Thrace events: continuity and change within Turkish state policies regarding non-Muslim minorities. An interview with Rıfat Bali". European Journal of Turkish Studies. Social Sciences on Contemporary Turkey (7). doi:10.4000/ejts.2903. ISSN 1773-0546.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "New Trial Ordered for Nine Constantinople Jews Once Acquitted". Jewish News Archive. January 16, 1928. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  6. ^ Benbassa, Esther; Rodrigue, Aron (1999). Sephardi Jewry : a history of the Judeo-Spanish community, 14th--20th centuries (1. California paperback ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520218222.
  7. ^ Münferit(!) antisemitizm vak’aları Archived February 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Ayşe Hür, Taraf