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Turkish minister concerned rise of Islamophobia in UK & Europe

29th Sep 2017
Turkish minister concerned rise of Islamophobia in UK & Europe

Turkey’s EU Minister & Chief Negotiator Omer Celic forth from left meeting on Islamophobia UK
Photo: Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs Mustafa Aygun/AA)

Ahmed J Versi

Muslims are the new target group in the UK and Europe, Turkish EU Minister, Ömer Çelik, said in London on September 13. “Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and racism are on the increase and widespread in Europe,” Chief Negotiator for Turkish Accession to the EU told a small group of prominent British academics, politicians, civil society and media representatives.

Çelik  congratulated President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, of making “huge contributions trying to build bridges with the UK Muslims.” However, Arkush criticised Turkey for “giving support and logistical support to Hamas which is anti-Semitic” and terrorist organisation.

Çelik , defending Turkish policy on its relations with Hamas, said “we talk with Hamas and other organisations to bring peace between Israel and Palestine. We support a two-state solution. Hamas is a political party who won general elections in 2005.” Çelik  criticised Israel and other countries for not accepting the result of the elections and added that “we never support attacks on Israel.”

The reason for the increase in xenophobia in Europe is because of “the rise of far-right politics and populist nationalism”, the Minister said. “Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-EU [ideologies] are, in fact, different realisations of the same distorted mentality,” Çelik  said.

Çelik  said European values such as democracy, human rights, equality, freedom and pluralism had been targeted by the far-right in their Islamophobic and anti-Semitic approaches. “Islamophobia is a crime against humanity,” he said. It is a global phenomenon and “genocide against Rohingya Muslims is due to Islamophobia.”

“Islamophobia fuels the politics of hate which can be seen in racism and sometimes violence targeting migrants, refugees and Muslims,” Çelik  said.

He argued that discrimination, marginalisation, attacks due to Islamophobia is responsible for radicalisation and “Daesh hands become stronger.”

Europe should work more with Turkey to fight terrorism, “which threatens our common democratic values,” Çelik  said. Europe works in a discriminatory way in towards terrorist groups, he said. “They applaud Turkey’s fight against Daesh but they do not show the same support in its fight against the PKK, which is a terrorist group too.”

Çelik  said “radicalism has nothing to do with Islam. No one can say Islam supports terrorism.”

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