A Turkish foundation created in memory of a slain Armenian and human rights activist and journalist, Hrant Dink, revealed in its bi-annual report on discrimination in Turkish publications, that Jews and Armenians are the top targets of hate speech in Turkey, with Jews edging out the Armenians as the number one target of hate.
Hrant Dink, an Armenian who sought to promote Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and who fought against many kinds of discrimination in his native Turkey, was murdered by three gun shots to the back of the head on January 19, 2007. Dink had been charged several times by the Turkish government with violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code which makes it a crime to “denigrate Turkishness.” One of the primary targets of this criminal law is the public mention or promotion of the Turkish massacres of Armenians or Kurds as historical facts.
In Dink’s memory, the International Hrant Dink Foundation was created to promote equal opportunities and encourage cultural diversity and cultural relations among all the peoples of Turkey, Armenia and Europe, to support the democratization of Turkey and to allow the recognition of past nationalism and racism that has afflicted Turkey, and work to improve the present so that the past is not repeated.
One of the projects of the Dink Foundation is a Media and Hate Speech Watch, in which periodic reviews are made of all the nationwide news publications in Turkey, in order to determine whether and if so which groups are the targets of hate speech.
In the period between September and December, 2012, Jews were the most frequent targets of hate speech in Turkey, followed closely by Armenians, after that Christians were targeted and then there was a big drop-off to the fourth place Greeks living in Turkey. Westerners in general and then Greeks make up the bulk of the remaining victims of Turkish hate speech, according to the Dink Foundation report.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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