Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the perpetrators of what he described as despicable attacks on tourists in Turkey will be punished, noting that his country was affected by the racism that is spreading in Europe, as he put it.
Erdogan added in statements to reporters, Thursday, after his participation in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, that “Turkey is a state of law, and the perpetrators of despicable attacks against our guests will receive the necessary punishments in accordance with the law.”
The Turkish President stated that the security authorities in his country are taking the utmost caution regarding such provocations and are intensifying their measures day after day.
He believed that there is “an attempt to create the perception that individual events fueled by marginalized groups are implemented and supported by the entire society.”
Erdogan said that his country was affected by what he described as the epidemic of racism that is spreading rapidly in the European country that markets itself as the cradle of civilization, as he put it.
He said that in Turkey there are representatives of circles “that want to spread xenophobia in the West,” and added that they should know that “these mines of theirs will not explode in Turkey.”
It is noteworthy that the pace of hate speech and practices against foreigners has increased significantly in Turkey since the second round of the last presidential elections in which Erdogan won, as factions of the opposition played on the string of intimidation and warning against foreigners, especially refugees, led by the Syrians.
Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced on Wednesday that 27 suspected people were arrested in simultaneous operations carried out in 14 states, including managers of accounts and websites accused of broadcasting “hate and racist speech” on social media platforms.
Before that, last Sunday, the Turkish judiciary ordered the detention of a citizen pending investigation over his assault on a Kuwaiti tourist in the state of Trabzon, northeast of the country, in an incident that sparked a wave of anger and prompted activists to organize a protest in Istanbul in rejection of racism.
On the other hand, the Turkish President spoke – in his statements on Thursday – about the phenomenon of anti-Islam “Islamophobia”, calling for taking strict stances to prevent its spread.
Erdogan said that there were countries that “supported our calls to combat Islamophobia, and unfortunately there are other countries that remained silent.” “The Islamic world, unfortunately, cannot give the appropriate reaction.”
He continued, “During this visit, we spoke with our counterparts about the danger of paving the way for attacks on holy sites under the guise of freedom of expression, and we made clear that this is not freedom of expression, but rather actions that threaten social and global peace by fueling hate speech.”