Group lobbies to get hate crimes in charter

Group lobbies to get hate crimes in charter

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
A platform of 60 civic groups representing minorities, gays, and human rights organizations, met with the Constitution Conciliation Commission yesterday, demanding constitutional protection against the rising numbers of hate crimes. 

They also urged lawmakers to draft a bill bringing harsher punishment for these violations.

The constitution must make it clear that Turkey is a country with multiple cultures and identities, and thus avoid marginalizing any groups, the platform said. The new constitution must also change the current regulation on equality to include categories such as race, ethnic roots, age, disabilities, health conditions, gender identity, and sexual orientation in addition to the existing categories of language, religion and gender. 

The platform also suggested limiting freedom of speech to a certain extent in order to prevent hate speech, which has been enforced by the European Court of Human Rights in the past, they pointed out.

Opposition members support

Representatives from the various organizations joined Hate Crimes Platform coordinator Murat Köylü during the meeting. The platform’s request for constitutional protection against hate crimes was supported by commission members Atilla Kart and Rıza Türmen from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Ahmet Altan from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), and Oktay Öztürk from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Of the 56 countries participating in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, 48 have legal regulations against hate crimes, said Köylü, adding that Turkey needed to join them.