By Muhammet Ikbal Arslan
The West public should be told that Islamophobia is a crime, said newly appointed Turkish ambassador of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Friday.
“It is necessary to tell the Western public in all ways needed that Islamophobia is a crime,” Mehmet Pacaci, OSCE’s senior representative to combat intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, told Anadolu Agency.
Pacaci was appointed to the post on Thursday by Slovakia, who has taken over the 2019 Chairmanship of the OSCE.
During his term, he said, they are going to conduct field researches on the subjects of Islamophobia and intolerance against Muslims.
The reports of the researches would be brought to the agenda of the OSCE, he added.
Noting that there was a high rise in Islamophobic incidents over the recent years, Pacaci said: “Turkey has always been closely following these incidents.”
He went on to say that Turkish Presidency, Foreign Ministry and other relevant institutions gave great importance to this issue.
Islamophobia not given importance
“Actually, Islamophobia needs to be accepted as a hate crime. It is a clear fact that anti-Islamism isn’t given importance as much as anti-Semitism,” Pacaci said, adding that European countries should show some effort in this regard.
“The public should be told in appropriate ways that Islamophobia is a crime. It would be a comprehensive and long-term effort,” he said.
Speaking about the presence of terror groups -- Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and PKK -- in the West which threaten Turkey’s security, he said the country needed to tell the Western nations that these groups also pose a threat for them.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children, in its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey.