Turkey, Europe

'Turkey leads fight against Islamophobia via international organizations'

Racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia create cycle that increases rates of polarization, says Turkish deputy foreign minister

Fuat Kabakcı   | 21.10.2021
'Turkey leads fight against Islamophobia via international organizations'


Turkey is leading the fight against Islamophobia and all other forms of discrimination through international organizations, the country’s deputy foreign minister said Wednesday. 

“We are leading the fight against Islamophobia and all other forms of discrimination within the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the UN,” Yavuz Selim Kiran said in a session on “Racism, Culture Wars, and the Polarization of Global Politics” at the TRT World Forum 2021.

Kiran said Muslims in Europe are blamed by the far right for economic problems, irregular migration and terrorism, but Muslims themselves are the victims of these problems.

Discrimination in employment, education and social life triggers a tendency to withdraw in immigrant communities, he said, adding this leads to a “more fragmented and polarized society.”

He said racist and anti-Islamic attacks in Europe and the US have increased in the last five years, and the number of people killed in these attacks has risen sevenfold.

Racism, populism and anti-Islamism have become the main obstacles to the integration of Muslims into Europe, he added.

He stressed that the threats that fuel polarization and discrimination can no longer be ignored and that these threats require urgent action at both national and international levels.

"We need to address the root causes, support the victims, document and report the cases. We monitor and prepare a report. Our responsibility is not only to fight racism, which is a global problem, but also to stand up to discrimination wherever we see it,” he said.

Underlining that racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia create a cycle that increases the rates of polarization, he said mutual respect and dialogue are fundamental against such threats.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how interconnected we are. We will continue to implement our entrepreneurial and humanitarian foreign policy at a time when vaccines, humanitarian aid or irregular migration are used as weapons by some,” he added.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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