Turkey to ask UN for legal action on film
ANKARA / LISBON
A Pakistani riot policeman (L) backs off from demonstrators attempting to reach the US embassy during a protest against an anti-Islam film in Islamabad. AFP PhotoTurkey will propose the adoption of international legislation against insulting religion at the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly of world leaders next week.
The Turkish delegation, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, will arrive in New York on Sept. 22. Erdoğan will give a speech on Sept. 25.
Last week, Erdoğan said the West hasn’t recognized Islamophobia as a crime against humanity, and that this has encouraged provocations, such as a recent movie that has angered Muslims.
“When it is in the form of a provocation, there should be international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred, on religion. As much as it is possible to adopt international regulations, it should be possible to do something in terms of domestic law,’ Erdoğan said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ yesterday called on European governments to take steps to protect sacred values through legal regulations and to punish those involved in similar attacks on religious and sacred values.
“Otherwise, this [inaction] will lead to the spread of insults to Muslims, which will bring about other consequences,” Bozdağ said. He also warned of the risk that if governments fail to take measures against those people who insult Muslims, it could be taken to mean they implicitly support the insulters.
The freedom of speech does not include insulting the sacred, EU Minister Egemen Bağış said, urging Muslims to avoid the “trap” of the anti-Islam film. Both the Muslim world’s reaction to the movie and the inaction of the international community should be questioned, he said.
Syria will top the agenda at the U.N. meetings, even though there is no formal meeting scheduled on the issue. Turkey has repeatedly complained that it is not receiving enough international assistance to support Syrian refugees, and has pushed for the creation of a foreign-protected “safe zone” inside Syria to try to help civilians on the other side of the border. The plan met with little enthusiasm from world powers at a U.N. Security Council meeting in late August. Ankara is expected to promote the idea again at the U.N. General Assembly, as the number of refugees who have fled into Turkey from Syria now exceeds 83,000.
Turkey’s UN General Assembly agenda also includes meetings on sustainable energy for all, countering nuclear terrorism, and nuclear disarmament, as well as foreign-ministerial meetings of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council of Turkic-Speaking States. Turkey, along with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, has proposed observer status at the General Assembly for the Council of Turkic-speaking States.