'Where are Aborigines, where are Redskins,' Turkish PM asks West
Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoğlu meets with Fener Rum Patriarch Bartholomeos on April 17. AA PhotoWarning that decisions like the European Parliament’s motion calling the mass killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I as a “genocide” will lead to enmity and prejudice against Turkey and Muslims, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also asked about the fate of the Aborigines in Australia and Native Americans in the United States.
“If a contribution is to be made to peace, if European culture is to preserve its multicultural and multi-religious structure, it must not make decisions that will cause enmity against any religious or national group on the basis of history. This is a situation which will provoke anti-Islam and anti-Turkish [sentiments], which have been on the rise recently in Europe. From now on, the ‘Turkey-Armenia’ [issue] has moved beyond the ‘Turkish-Armenian’ issue. It is a reflection of racism in Europe,” Davutoğlu said on April 17, responding to reporters.
The European Parliament’s motion came on April 15, only a few days after Pope Francis triggered fury in Turkey by using the same term.
The prime minister argued that both the European Parliament’s resolution and the pope’s statement were “a new reflection of racism.”
Davutoğlu went on the offensive as he mentioned Aborigines and Native Americans. “I told [European Parliament President Martin] Schulz yesterday. If we are to open the history of Europe, what was done in Africa during colonialism? What was done in Asia? What was done in Australia and where have those authentic tribes disappeared to? Where are the Aborigines, where are the Redskins?” he said.
Referring to American Indians, "redskins" is a term still widely used in Turkey despite the fact that the English-speaking world stopped using it over its racial connotations. Changing the name of the Washington Redskins NFL franchise remains a matter of debate in the United States due to the objections of Native Americans.
Noting that the resolution and the statement about history delivered by a spiritual authority were both invalid, Davutoğlu then said, “We could open files of Catholic history and bring up an issue by talking about those who fled the Inquisition, came to our country and how they have lived in peace here for centuries.”
His quote refers to the arrival of the Sephardic Jews, who were exiled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition and found refuge in the Ottoman Empire in 1492.