Social Humanitarian Cultural
Combating Racism and Xenophobia
The Republic of Turkey
Forest Hills Eastern l
Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of anything that is strange or foreign. Racism is defined as a prejudice or discrimination based on the race of an individual or group. Countries all over the world have struggled and continue to struggle with the issue of how to combat these problems.
Following 9/11, the United States has experienced a rise in Islamophobia. According to a 2016 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 41% of Americans believe that Muslims are more likely to encourage violence than other religions. Turkey believes that any act of discrimination is legally and morally unacceptable. Turkey has witnessed racism and xenophobia both within its own country and it has seen its own people face discrimination in other nations. According to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Turks visiting other countries, particularly European nations, have faced Islamophobia. Turkish parliament speaker Ismail Kahraman has said that “Turkey is ready to help” in the fight against Islamophobia. Turkey has also dealt with racism within its own borders. With more than three million refugees, Turkey has the most refugees out of any country in the world. Because Turks are very nationalistic, people of different backgrounds have struggled to be accepted into Turkish society.
Turkey has taken several steps to combat racism and xenophobia, including creating laws and ratifying international resolutions. Turkey currently has four million citizens living in foreign countries. The Turkish migrants working in other countries, particularly the European nations of Germany and France, have been subject to discrimination because of their Islamic faith. The migrants have had limited access or in some cases complete denial to public education, health care, and employment. Their social and economic rights are being violated and some migrants have even lost their lives from acts of violence. At an event in April 2017, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu urged European Union governments to recognize Islamophobia as “a hate crime and a form of racism” and to criminalize it in their constitutions. Turkey is actively working to combat racism and xenophobia in its own country. Hate crimes and discrimination have been added to the Turkish Criminal Code and penalties have been increased. Provisions regarding the prevention of discrimination have been added to many laws, including the Turkish Labour Law, Civil Servants Law, Civil Law, Law on Political Parties, Law on Social Services, and the Law on National Education. Turkey has also passed the Law on the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey to promote human rights on the basis of human dignity, ensure the right to equal treatment, and prevent discrimination.
Turkey recognizes that discrimination is not morally acceptable and should not be legally acceptable. It urges other nations to criminalize the growing problem of Islamophobia and hopes that all other nations create laws to protect the basic rights of all people. Turkey understands that everyone deserves equal treatment and hopes that other countries will follow their example of working to achieve such equal treatment.
- Emma Erlenbeck