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Racism and a lack of tolerance of different cultures and lifestyles are some of the chronic diseases in Western socities, says Turkish President Gül. DHA Photo

Racism and a lack of tolerance of different cultures and lifestyles are some of the chronic diseases in Western socities, says Turkish President Gül. DHA Photo

European countries will face new humanitarian tragedies leading to mass killings of people if they continue in their failure to embrace tolerance toward different cultures and religions, President Abdullah Gül has warned.

“Islam and migrants have been a reality in Europe for centuries. As long as the continent of Europe doesn’t approach segments which are different from the majority with tolerance, particularly in regards to religion, an occurrence of new inquisitions and Holocausts, as well as incidents evoking Srebrenica, are probable,” Gül said yesterday.

His strongly worded remarks came as he delivered a keynote speech at the opening of a two-day international symposium on “Migration, Islam and Multiculturality in Europe” arranged by Hacettepe University’s Migration and Politics Research Center.

Racism and a lack of tolerance of different cultures and lifestyles are some of the chronic diseases in Western societies, Gül said, drawing attention to the increase in support for political parties which portray migrants as the main reason for societal problems in European countries such as safety, unemployment, crime and poverty.

“When politics begins ‘otherizing’ a segment, then we see the alienation of migrants and minorities from the country in which they live and from the society in which they live as an inevitable consequence. As seen in countless examples in history, countries which have been able to perpetuate societal and cultural diversity in unity and harmony have stood out in history. Correspondingly, countries which have exerted efforts to either destroy or put pressure on societal and cultural diversity due to different fears have first of all lost their human richness; subsequently, they have experienced a loss of economic and political power,” the president said.

“In this regard, although each country is responsible for producing its own authentic resolutions, showing respect for multiculturalism [is necessary],” he said.

“Racism and intolerance toward different cultures and lifestyles are unfortunately one of the most chronic diseases. Although this disease can be taken under control, it arises again, particularly during times of economic crisis,” he said.

The president also emphasized the importance he attaches to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection which was approved by Parliament on April 4 in a bid to harmonize Turkey’s regulations on the issue with those of the EU. Gül approved the law on April 10, allowing it to go into force on April 11 after being published in the Official Gazette.

April/12/2013

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