No: 204, 22 August 2023, Press Release Regarding the International Day Commemorating Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief

Republic Of Türkiye Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 22.08.2023

On the occasion of the International Day Commemorating Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, declared by the UN General Assembly in 2019, we respectfully remember all persons who have been victims of heinous acts and attacks in various parts of the world due to their religion or belief.

Racism, xenophobia, and hate crimes that are committed on this basis but tolerated in some countries on the grounds of freedom of expression, constitute one of the greatest threats to social peace and harmony and universal democratic values. While freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy, it cannot be used to spread hatred.

Islamophobia, one of the most common forms of racism and xenophobia today, has reached such a level that Muslims all over the world are exposed to hate speech, attacks and insults to their sacred values.

The spread of the burning of our holy book, the Holy Quran, like an epidemic in Europe since January, and the frequent attacks on mosques reveal the terrifying prevalence of intolerance based on religion or belief.

Past experiences have bitterly shown that racism, xenophobia and hate speech can lead to acts of violence and terrorism if necessary steps are not taken in a timely manner and effective complaint and follow-up mechanisms are not established by reviewing legal regulations.

In order to effectively combat these tendencies and actions that violate the essence of human rights and fundamental freedoms and affect not only the groups they target, but all segments of society, the international community needs to unite their efforts around a common will.

Türkiye, which pioneers and contributes effectively to the initiatives and processes carried out for this purpose in international platforms, will resolutely continue its struggle with all aspects of this problem, including addressing the main reasons behind the aforementioned actions. In this regard, we are ready to cooperate with all countries and organizations that want to contribute to finding a solution to this problem.

Türkiye’s active and constructive stance on this issue was confirmed by the adoption, with our contribution, of the historic resolutions of the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation describing the attacks on the holy books as “religious hatred” and “violation of international law” this past July. We will continue our efforts to improve the relevant acquis of the international organizations of which we are a member and to monitor their implementation, including these resolutions, particularly by the countries where anti-Islamic hate crimes are committed.

On this occasion, we strongly condemn all racist acts and hate crimes based on religion or belief, express once again our solidarity with the victims of these acts, and extend our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives as a result of such acts.

Atatürk

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