Turkey to lobby against racism, Islamophobia

DERYA KISA
ISTANBUL
Published 16.06.2016 00:43

The Prime Ministry's Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) launched an initiative to fight racism and Islamophobia Turkish citizens living abroad face. The YTB will offer funds starting from TL 200,000 ($68,294) to nongovernmental organizations and universities in 15 countries: Germany, the United States, Denmark, France, Italy, Australia, Austria, Belgium, United Kingdom, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Norway, for projects to counter two phenomena affecting Turks and Muslims, especially in Europe.

Through the funding, the YTB aims to stir widespread public reaction against discrimination, xenophobic and Islamophobic acts and hate speech Turks sometimes encounter in the countries they live in. The YTB will work for capacity building in organizations specialized in fighting discrimination, funding activities to track racism and joint international events as well as scientific research on negative trends.

Turkey is concerned about rising Islamophobia and racism in Europe, which has been further fueled by the influx of refugees streaming to the continent escaping conflicts in the Middle East.

Speaking to Daily Sabah last week, Mustafa Yeneroğlu, the head of Parliament's Human Rights Committee, said: "Turks in Germany are already subject to marginalization, discrimination and racist attacks. There were approximately 100 assaults on mosques alone in Germany in 2015, while there are at least three attacks daily on refugees. Moreover, the case concerning the terrorist Nationalist Socialist Underground (NSU) killing spree [in the early 2000s] is yet to be solved. Among the victims there were eight Turks. I can easily say that the courts are not acting against the intelligence units connected with this case, nor institutionalized racism. We have legitimate concerns about the Turkish community's well-being in Germany, as there has been a rise in right-wing populist politics, which may exacerbate social exclusion and racist crimes against the community. We call for the German government to address racial discrimination with more sincere and decisive actions."

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