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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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READER COMMENTS

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David Coster

5/3/2013 10:05:48 PM

I agree with the consensus, a very odd comment when, based on my personal knowledge of Turkey, in my opinion which is echoed by many Turkish business people today's Turkey by forgetting what Ataturk gave all Turkish citizens. By giving unequal influence to the Islamic people who because of the religion hold back equality of education and opportunity. Plus today I was with my wife in Taksim, seeing an "unreasonable Police presence with automatic weapons, water cannons, and teargas guns

Del Evan

4/14/2013 3:49:27 AM

Odd speech considering that a year or so ago some Turkish politician was urging Turks in Germany to remain Turkish and not assimilate to the German culture. Isn't there an Islamic word for telling the infidel one thing but their own people another? Don't suppose this Gul will offer back the Hagia Sophia in the name of tolerance and diversity. The world laughs at this speech and with good reason.

chuck maki

4/14/2013 2:09:34 AM

It was during the times of the Roman Catholic Spanish Inquisition that Jews from Spain and elsewhere were invited into the Ottoman Empire. Of course the church of Rome did similar things to protestants in those early days.

C B Mays

4/12/2013 11:54:55 PM

I can't think of one Islamic country, with the possible exception of Turkey, and they characterize themselves as secularists, that practices toleration of other religions or cultures. While the Europeans are really missed up mainly because they do not have a core religion or culture, they [as a people, but some socialist may try] do not try to impose their beliefs on other peoples. Sorry but I cannot say the same about Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

Tim Upham

4/12/2013 9:45:34 PM

President Abdullah Gul seems to be in contact with the world of reality, more than other lawmakers in Turkey. He has called upon Hamas to recognize the State of Israel. It is hoped that other lawmakers in Muslim countries, can accept reality more for us all to be a part of the world that we live in.

Hakan Osman

4/12/2013 9:02:50 PM

We cannot comment on anything having to do with Holocaust or Genocide, until we admit and apologize for what we did to the Christians in Anatolia in 1915. Even when Gul says something reasonable, he gets bombarded with statements about Turkish history.

Baris

4/12/2013 8:31:32 PM

As people have pointed out, minorities in Turkey, such as, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Alevis, etc. have suffered and are still suffering from racism and a lack of tolerance of different cultures. Mr Gul should have acknowledged that fact. Many minorities were chased away and those that remained were oppressed. In today's Turkey some people regard the word Armenian as a swear word. Surveys showed many people don't want Jews or Armenians as neighbours. They see native Christians&Jews as foreigners.

Murid Abbas

4/12/2013 8:06:00 PM

We should not be biased while giving an opinion, and comparison must be logical. We are also forgetting some basic facts; billion innocent European citizens were mascaraed in WW1 & WW2 not because of Islam,neither "Holocaust" was carried out by Muslims. Humanity should be the base line while talking certain issues. Iraq,Afghanistan,Somalia, Eritrea, Kashmir and Philistine are living examples of dual standers of western capitalism / imperialism.

Richard Wyatt

4/12/2013 5:39:08 PM

Some very good comments here. Here's another useful English quotation (from a certain holy book) that we can bring to Mr Gül's attention.Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye but don't notice the log in your own eye?

Sandra Jacoel

4/12/2013 5:14:48 PM

Well said Mara!
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