Turkey, a member of NATO along with the United States, for years was regarded as a moderate Muslim nation with Western leanings.
But it recently has taken a sharp turn toward full-blown Islamic law and persecution of non-Muslims.
It just got worse, with a statement from a high government official that Turkey wants all governments across Europe to criminalize “Islamophobia,” which would include any negative comment about the religion.
The report comes from Uzay Bulut, a journalist from Turkey who has worked with the Haym Salomon Center. She’s currently based in Washington and writes at the Gatestone Institute.
She wrote in a recent report for the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu called on EU governments to criminalize “Islamophobia.”
Her report quoted him saying, “There is no ideology or terminology called ‘Islamism’; There is only one Islam and it means ‘peace.'”
She pointed out that it is salaam that means peace, not Islam, which means submission.
She wrote, “Urging all politicians to recognize Islamophobia as ‘a hate crime and a form of racism’ in their constitutions, Çavuşoğlu accused European judiciaries of applying a double standard by not paying as much attention to Islamophobia as they do to anti-Semitism.”
There is nothing new about his views, the report said.
In fact, the supremacy of Islam is taught in the Quran, which states, “It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion.”
The writer suggested that Turkish officials be reminded of the nation’s history.
“Non-Muslims in Turkey have been exposed to severe persecution and attempts at annihilation, such as the 1914-1923 Christian genocide; the 1941-1942 conscription of the ‘twenty classes,’ of all male Christians and Jews, including the elderly and mentally ill; and the 1942 Wealth Tax, which aimed to impoverish non-Muslims and transfer their wealth to Muslims,” she explained. “Today, only 0.2 percent of Turkey’s population of nearly 80 million is Christian or Jewish.”
Her report said there are fewer than 2,000 Greeks left in Istanbul, after they were “murdered, deported or forced to flee severe persecution” over the years.
Some 1.5 million Armenians were killed during Turkey’s 1915 genocide, and since then, they have been targeted with the seizure of property and other assets, the report said.
The nation has systematically discriminated against Jews for generations.
“The laws that excluded Jews and other non-Muslim citizens from certain occupations in the 1920s and blocked the Jews’ freedom of movement; the 1934 anti-Jewish pogrom in eastern Thrace, and the continued anti-Jewish hate speech in the Turkish media and certain political circles are among the forms of persecution and discrimination against Jewish citizens of Turkey,” she wrote.
As for Assyrian Christians in Turkey?
They “suffered forced evictions, mass displacement and the burning down of their homes and villages, abductions (including of priests,) forced conversions to Islam through rape and forced marriage, and murder. These pressures, and other insidious forms of persecution and discrimination, have decimated the community.”
Even now, the government and Muslim Kurds “continue to seize their lands and property illegally,” she wrote.
Protestant Christians are not considered a “legal entity” in Turkey and are deprived of the right to establish and maintain places of worship.
And they are targeted with “hate crimes and speech, verbal and physical attacks and workplace discrimination.”
Yazidis are simply not recognized as having religion, she wrote.
It’s actually been since about the 11th century that Turks “seem to have had a tradition … of being unneighborly to non-Muslims,” she wrote.
“The West needs to be reminded that this tradition is alive and well in modern Turkey,” she said.
“Çavuşoğlu, in his talk against Islamophobia, did not mention the atrocities committed by radical Islamists in Europe. Those abuses are at the root of the debate about how to tackle the calls to violence in Islam without hampering the civil liberties of law-abiding Muslims. By proposing to block all criticism of Islam on the grounds that it is ‘extremist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic and Islamophobic,’ Çavuşoğlu is revealing that he would welcome banning free speech to protect a religious ideology,” her warning said.