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Turkish Jews search for answers

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"I have a feeling that this will affect people in a very bad way. People were just starting to send their kids out to be more involved with the community, and now I think they will be more afraid," says Stella Issever, a community veteran who came back to Istanbul from the US Thursday - and narrowly missed the bombings by choosing to attend a different synagogue. "But for someone who goes to synagogue, it's a part of life, and you can't not go back to it."

Silvyo Ovadya, a spokesman for the community, says he hopes the community will recover as soon as the buildings are repaired. "In the long term, people will come again, because the real issue isn't Turkish terrorism, it's international terrorism. Maybe they used Turkish people to do it, but the planning was not made in Turkey."

Indeed, Turkish officials say that the bombings have links to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda, and that the men suspected of carrying out the bombings had training abroad. According to reports in major Turkish newspapers, Turkish officials have been tracing these links ever since a notebook containing suicide bombing instructions in Turkish was found in an abandoned Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan not long after the fall of the Taliban two years ago.

"It has emerged that there is a link with an organization in Afghanistan in terms of belief and understanding," Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told reporters. "A trail has been found and relationships have emerged."

Turkish media also carried the names and photographs of alleged Turkish militants who were said to have come from southeastern Turkey. Three of the four trained in Pakistan and Iran, Reuters reported, and one had fought in predominantly Muslim Chechnya against Russian troops.

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