Turkey was one of the co-sponsors of the 2005 UN resolution designating January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The government commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, participates in several other acts of remembrance, and is an observer in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
There is no official Holocaust-related curriculum in Turkey. Former participants in Turkey’s delegations to IHRA point to this absence as one of the reasons Turkey has not moved beyond observer status in the organization. These contacts also indicated that the Foreign Ministry attempted to work with the Ministry of Education at various points to develop a Holocaust education curriculum. However, the efforts did not result in tangible progress.
Private organizations supported by external donations initiated a number of programs to directly reach students and train teachers in Holocaust education, but these programs are limited in scope. Recently, the Civil and Ecological Rights Association (SEHAK) neared completion on a three‑year project with the Anne Frank House to design a Holocaust education curriculum in Turkish, hold regional trainer and educator seminars, host educational exhibitions, and organize an international conference. Several contacts also said reading lists, particularly in private secondary schools, include Holocaust-related material as part of their recommended (but not required) reading options. Despite these positive steps, the absence of a systematic Holocaust education curriculum is a significant shortcoming, and existing activities only reach a limited number of teachers and students.
There are no known permanent Holocaust memorials in Turkey. For the past five years, the Governor of Istanbul hosted a commemoration ceremony to mark the sinking in 1942 of the Struma, a ship with nearly 800 Jewish refugees transiting the Black Sea from occupied Romania to then‑Mandatory Palestine. Turkish officials attend that commemoration event along with Jewish community representatives, including the Chief Rabbi and members of the diplomatic community. In addition, for the past five years, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs co‑hosted an annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day event with Ankara University. Similar events take place in Istanbul where the country’s Jewish community is largely centered, and the government releases a public statement each year to mark the day.
The Jewish Museum of Turkey primarily focuses on the cultural history of the community. In doing so, it also commemorates the actions of Turkish diplomats who saved the lives of Turkish Jews as well as others during WWII. According to the curators of the exhibition, more than 100,000 Jews passed through Turkey while fleeing Europe, and Istanbul was an important center of rescue activity. The exhibition features the story of Selahattin Ulkumen, recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, as well as other Turkish diplomats who provided Turkish passports to citizens and possibly noncitizens as they escaped from Europe. The museum also features an educational outreach program.