Turkey marks Holocaust, warns against rising racist movements in Europe
ANKARATurkey has issued a message of commemoration for the millions of people who lost their lives during the Nazi Holocaust on Jan. 27 Holocaust Remembrance Day, saying the country would stand against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
“We commemorate the millions of people who lost their lives during the Holocaust with respect,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Being aware of its responsibility, Turkey will resolutely continue its fight against anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, which have unfortunately regained ground in today’s world,” it said.
To mark the day, a commemoration ceremony was held at Ankara University with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş, representatives of Turkey’s Jewish community and others.
“I respectfully commemorate the millions of people who have lost their lives in the Holocaust, an atrocity that took place 72 years ago in the middle of Europe and was unprecedented in the history of humanity,” Türkeş said in his statement.
Recalling that Nazi Germany formed a comprehensive bureaucratic system and used all of its technological advances to kill people in the quickest way possible, Türkeş said, “The most important lesson that has to be taken from the Holocaust is that one should not remain silent against hatred and alienation.”
Türkeş stressed that the Holocaust presented a very strong warning about the consequences of targeting a certain religion and ethnic group as the source of all problems by the leaders of a country. “However, today, we are observing the strengthening of political movements in Europe that breed their ideology and rhetoric through xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. We are sadly following that this rhetoric of racism and hatred that is being used by these political movements has created the basis for racist attacks in recent years,” he said.
The ministry’s statement underlined that Europe’s rising racism, extremism, and anti-Semitism before World War II had caused the Holocaust, one of history’s largest ever tragedies. “Millions of innocent people, primarily Jews, were exterminated in an organized and systematic way by the Nazi regime and its collaborators,” the statement added.
“Today, it is our duty to do whatever it takes to avoid the recurrence of the Holocaust, one of the darkest periods of human history. This is a common responsibility for all humanity,” it said.
“Since 2008, Turkey has actively participated in the activities of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as an observer and continues its efforts to prevent the Holocaust from being forgotten and to pass on the lessons learned to younger generations,” it said.
The statement added that in 2005, a U.N. resolution co-sponsored by Turkey and passed by the U.N. General Assembly made Jan. 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Jan. 27 marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp on that date in 1945, which became one of the symbols of the World War II era,” the statement said.