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280 racist attacks target ‘others’ in Turkey in last 10 years

280 racist attacks target ‘others’ in Turkey in last 10 years
24.07.2021
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The last farewell has been said to Hakim Dal, a Kurdish citizen of Turkey killed last week by racist assailants. He was the latest victim of 280 racist attacks that are known to have occurred within the last 10 years in the country.

A group of around 60 people, some of whom were armed, attacked a Kurdish family and killed 43-year-old Hakim Dal following a dispute. Dal’s funeral ceremony was held on Thursday.

The governor of Konya issued a statement about Dal’s murder, but the statement dismissed the racist nature of the attack.

The governor claimed that the dispute was a result of hostility between the families and that there was no racist motive.

However, the Dal family and other witnesses state that the Kurdish family was attacked because they were Kurds, indicating hate speech of the assailants who had previously threatened the family using racist language.

The increasing number of racist attacks recently occurring in Ankara, Afyon and Konya have sparked debates in the country regarding the hostile language used by the top figures of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) government.

Fifteen bar associations in eastern and southeastern Turkey issued a joint statement on Thursday regarding the racist attacks in the country, denouncing the Turkish government’s ultranationalist politics and hate language against the Kurds as a factor in the increasing trend of attacks targeting Kurds.

The data also shows the worrying extent of racism in Turkey. According to Turkey’s Human Right Association’s (IHD) data from 2020, 280 racist attacks have been reported in the media in the last 10 years .

Within the last 7 years, 10 Kurds have been killed in racist attacks, in which they were specifically targeted for being Kurds.

Kurdish construction workers who came to work in Afyon from Van, a Kurdish-majority city in eastern Turkey, were targeted on 14 September 2020 in an armed attack for speaking in the Kurdish language. 25-year-old Kurdish worker Özkan Tokay was shot dead by three bullets during the attack, whilst five other Kurds including three children, were injured. There was also outrage that Tokay’s funeral was blockaded by soldiers.

On 1 July 2020, 20-year-old Barış Çakan, who was from Turkey’s eastern city of Ağrı but was living in Ankara with his family, was killed by racist neighbours for listening to Kurdish music. The Kurdish youngster was stabbed in the heart.

On 16 December 2019, Kadir Sakçı was killed by racist attackers in Sakarya. The 43-year-old was attacked for speaking in Kurdish with his son. Before pulling the trigger, the attacker asked him, “Are you Kurdish?”, and Sakçı answered, “Yes, I am Kurdish.”

On 23 August 2019 Kurdish seasonal agricultural worker Şirin Tosun was killed in a racist attack.

In September 2015 21-year-old Sedat Akbaş was killed for speaking Kurdish while waiting at a bus stop in Istanbul.

On 23 October 2015 artist Selim Serhed was killed for singing songs in Kurdish, also in Istanbul.

On 27 December 2020, a racist police officer shot Emrah Gezer in the back for singing a Kurdish song during a birthday celebration in a Turkish bar. He shot 15 bullets into his back.

On 31 August 2016 Kurdish construction worker Mehmet Aytaç was burned to death by Turkish nationalists in Istanbul.

Kurdish seasonal worker Perihan Akın was killed in a racist attack in Samsun where she went to work.

After Akın’s murder, the Women’s Council of the HDP stated that this attack targeted Perihan Akın for both her female and her Kurdish identities.

On 10 November 2018 Fikret Aydemir was beaten unconscious and put in a coma by two other soldiers after a campaign of bullying for speaking Kurdish during his military service in Ağrı .

In 2013, Rıdvan İşler, who spoke Kurdish in a shuttle vehicle in Istanbul, was attacked by a group of racists.

On 15 October 2019 Bedriye Yaşlı (71) and her husband Ekrem Yaşlı (74) were attacked for speaking Kurdish to each other in Turkey’s western city of Çanakkale.

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