Turkish Jewish leaders say they are taking action after students at Istanbul’s Üsküdar American Academy performed the Nazi salute during a soccer game against Istanbul’s sole Jewish day school.
The students from the American Academy considered one of Istanbul’s most elite, delivered the gesture at the game on Tuesday as a taunt following goals by the Ulus Jewish School team, according to reports on Twitter and in Avlaremoz, a Turkish Jewish media outlet.
Turkey’s official Jewish communal organization condemned the incident. The Jewish organization said that it was in contact with the American school’s board and that “necessary initiatives will be taken,” though it did not specify what those initiatives might be.
The American Academy is also investigating what unfolded at the game, according to a statement it issued on Wednesday.
“We would like to emphasize that we stand against all kinds of discrimination in accordance with our institutional and educational philosophy.” the statement said. “We have urgently contacted the school officials of Ulus Private Jewish High School, conveyed our regrets, and initiated the necessary investigation.”
The incident has sent shockwaves through Istanbul’s Jewish community, which includes families with connections to both schools.
“As an Üsküdar American High School graduate, I do not want to believe this behavior of my school’s students towards the students of my son’s school.” one Jewish graduate, Roksi Levent, wrote on Twitter. “If it is true, I condemn it, and I am deeply saddened to see my school come to this.”
Üsküdar American Academy was founded in 1876 by an American Christian missionary organization operating in the Ottoman Empire. The school teaches mostly in English and boasts that its graduates largely attend leading foreign universities. It does not have an affiliation with the U.S. government, as some other American schools abroad do, according to a spokesperson from the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.