ECRI Report on Turkey Finds Hate Speech and Crimes Against Armenians

On October
4, the European Commission Against Racism Intolerance (ECRI), established by
the Council of Europe, released the “ECRI Report on Turkey.“ The following
excerpts from the report under “Findings and Recommendations” are regarding hate
speech and crimes against Armenians in Turkey. Click here for the full report.

41. Due to the above, perpetrators of hate
speech do not fear punishment and the substantial groups of the population
targeted by hate speech are left without protection. To remedy this situation,
ECRI considers that the police and prosecution services should, as recommended
in §§ 18 and 82 to 86 of ECRI’s GPR No. 11, establish sustained contact and
mutual confidence with groups that are regularly victims of hate speech, such
as Alevis, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Kurds, LGBT persons, Roma and refugee
communities. This should be the starting point to improve the reporting of hate
speech to the police and should lead to the thorough investigation and
punishment of racist and homo/transphobic offences. Independent bodies
specializing in combating racism should be involved in these activities.

55. Other groups are also victims of hate
crime. On 7 August 2015, unknown perpetrators shot at the car of the
Alevi-Bektaşi Federation President Baki Düzgün. In the case of the death of
Sevag Sahin Balikci, a soldier of Armenian descent, the court concluded that
the perpetrator, another soldier, had killed him by accident. However, there
was evidence of prior racial conflicts between the two. In Istanbul,
proceedings concerning the possibly racially-motivated murder of another woman
of Armenian descent, Maritsa Kücük, are still under way. On 29 January 2015 the
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly again called on Turkey to undertake a
full investigation into the violent death of the Armenian writer Hrant Dink.
Christian minorities, like the Greek Orthodox and Protestant communities, have
recently suffered from attempted arson to churches, burglary and death threats.
Fortunately, in recent years, their members have rarely been the victims of
violent offences to the person. The Jewish community has to spend large amounts
on security to prevent violent attacks. Lately, some refugees have also become
the targets of racist hate crimes.

ECRI is an
independence human rights monitoring body specialized in questions relating to
racism and intolerance.

The
following report was drawn up by ECRI under its own responsibility. It covers
the situation up to March 17, 2016. Developments since that date are neither covered
in the following analysis nor taken into account in the conclusions and
proposals therein.

About Armenian Assembly of America

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
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