Racism directed at foreigners in Turkey

At the present time, racism and race related violence has started appearing on the public agenda quite frequently. In the history of Turks and Turkey, racism and ethnic discrimination has been prevalent throughout. These racist and discriminatory attitudes of Turks are especially directed towards the people who are not Turks by ethnicity. There has been widespread racism and hate speech, particularly against the Armenians and Jews. The Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Jews and Kurds have particularly been the victim of racism and discrimination in Turkey throughout history.

Mostly the racist attitude divides the people’s groups into a hierarchy which might be based on skin colour, ethnicity, religion, culture, or national origin. The people who are placed in the lowest ranks of such hierarchies become the victim of racism or more broadly speaking discrimination.

The crimes related to hate due to racism, nationalism and intolerance have been to increase during 2008. Though changes has been introduced in the constitution and laws in Turkey, but no one has been convicted of hate crimes related to either racism or discrimination. The article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code placed a ban on the publicly showing hate and disgust towards people. But despite this article, numerous people has been killed in Turkey on the basis of different ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, or social sexual identity.

There are no racist tendencies in Turkey in terms of skin colour. The racism in a broader sense is more a discrimination against ethnic, religious and social groups. For example,in the past there had been an influx of Russian working women in Turkey from Eastern Europe. Even though these women got high education, got married and secured high ranking positions in international organizations, they are still harassed by certain men and in certain parts of the country.

The foreign ideas and foreigners in the broader sense of the word, are usually not welcomed in Eastern and more religious parts of Turkey. Freedom of thought and ideas often face criticism and frowned upon in certain sectors of the society in Turkey. If one does not conform to certain dress codes in certain parts of Turkey, it will bring one to unnecessary attention.

Thus, the racism in Turkey towards the foreigners or the people of foreign descent is more in words than in actions. It is a result of the thought and perceptions of the Turks which they hold against the foreign people.

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