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Turkiye says racism, xenophobia 'one of greatest threats' to social peace

August 22, 2023 at 3:05 pm

Demonstrators are seen taking part in a protest against the treatment of refugees on March 9, 2020 [Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

Racism and xenophobia are “one of the greatest threats” to social peace, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, marking the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, Anadolu Agency reports.

“We respectfully remember all persons who have been victims of heinous acts and attacks in various parts of the world due to their religion or belief,” said a Ministry statement.

The UN General Assembly designated 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, recognising the importance of providing the victims and members of their families with appropriate support and assistance in accordance with applicable law.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said: “Racism, xenophobia, and hate crimes that are committed on this basis, but tolerated in some countries on the grounds of freedom of expression constitute one of the greatest threats to social peace and harmony and universal democratic values.

“While freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy, it cannot be used to spread hatred.”

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Islamophobia, one of the most common forms of racism and xenophobia, has reached such a level that Muslims all over the world are exposed to hate speech, attacks and insults to their sacred values, the Ministry added.

The continued desecration of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, and the frequent attacks on mosques reveal the “terrifying prevalence of intolerance” based on religion or belief, it added.

The statement said: “Past experiences have bitterly shown that racism, xenophobia and hate speech can lead to acts of violence and terrorism if necessary steps are not taken in a timely manner and effective complaint and follow-up mechanisms are not established by reviewing legal regulations.

“In order to effectively combat these tendencies and actions that violate the essence of human rights and fundamental freedoms and affect not only the groups they target, but all segments of society, the international community needs to unite their efforts around a common will.”

Turkiye, which pioneers and contributes effectively to the initiatives and processes carried out for this purpose in international platforms, will resolutely continue its struggle with all aspects of this problem, it said, adding Ankara is ready to cooperate with all countries and organisations that want to contribute to finding a solution to this problem.

“Turkiye’s active and constructive stance on this issue was confirmed by the adoption, with our contribution, of the historic resolutions of the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation describing the attacks on the holy books as ‘religious hatred’ and ‘violation of international law’ this past July.

“We will continue our efforts to improve the relevant acquis of the international organisations of which we are a member and to monitor their implementation, including these resolutions, particularly by the countries where anti-Islamic hate crimes are committed,” it stressed.

Turkiye also strongly condemned all racist acts and hate crimes based on religion or belief, expressed its solidarity with the victims of these acts, and extended condolences to the families of those who lost their lives as a result of such acts, the Ministry added.

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