REVISED HEADLINE, DECK, REVISED THROUGHOUT; ADDS REMARKS OF RULING JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT (AK) PARTY SPOKESMAN
By Jeyhun Aliyev
ANKARA (AA) – The world should step up to put a halt to Islamophobia and xenophobia, plagues which have spread dangerously in recent years with the help of digital platforms, Turkey's president said Wednesday.
"The international community should take action so that tragedies such as the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Cambodia are never repeated," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a video message marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Erdogan said that even as humanity is struggling against a pandemic, it is also fighting a "racism virus" that has become increasingly widespread.
He decried a "serious” rise in acts of violence against places of worship such as mosques, synagogues, and churches.
"Hate crimes against some sectors of society with different ethnic identities, religions, language, and appearances have been growing each day."
Racist terrorism has turned into a security threat that undermines societal peace and people's will to co-exist, Erdogan said.
"The signs of the Holocaust, the Bosnian, Rwandan, and Cambodian genocides, in which millions of people lost their lives, were evident with systematic discrimination, marginalization, and rising hate speech long before these massacres," he warned.
He emphasized that these genocides serve as a reminder to the international community to fight against all kinds of discrimination and prevent crimes against humanity.
This is not just a “moral attitude that should be adopted by every state, but also a contractual obligation under the 1948 UN Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide," said the president.
Erdogan said that in this context, each and every international organization, government, media organ, politician, civil society group, religious group, and opinion leader has "essential roles" to play.
In recent years Turkey has been making efforts in this regard on international platforms, particularly the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative.
Erdogan also cited Turkey’s open-door policy on refugees, saying: “We protect everyone who takes refuge in our country regardless of their beliefs, language, and origin."
"On this occasion, I respectfully commemorate the victims of the genocide and hope for a future where all kinds of discrimination will end, and crimes against humanity will no longer be experienced," Erdogan concluded.
– Genocide victims
Omer Celik, spokesman for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, also commemorated the victims of genocides.
"On the occasion of Jan. 27 UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we condemn all genocides committed against Jews and humanity and commemorate its victims with respect," he said in a tweet.
Celik stressed that Turkey stands as a "hope for humanity" and a "shelter" for all the oppressed.
"Turkey has hosted Jews fleeing death in the past, and today continues to be the sole refuge of the oppressed fleeing the clutches of death," he added.