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04/19/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  According to Turkey’s Interior Ministry, no hate speech or crimes against Turkish Armenians occurred during the Nagorno-Karabakh War (Armenian: Artsakh). However, anti-Armenian protests and hate speech in the form of provocation were evident but misattributed by the Turkish report.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently utilized a racial-ethnic slur when criticizing opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP) during a speech given at the Union of International Democrats Women’s and Youth Committee. The word Erdoğan used, “gavur”, translates as infidel and is commonly used as a slur against non-Muslims and non-Turks.

Erdoğan received criticism from opposition politicians accusing him of hate speech, including Garo Paylan, an HDP parliament member of Armenian descent. Paylan commented saying, “as an Armenian who has been subjected to hate speech with the word gavur many times, I want it to be known that it is unacceptable for the president to use this word.”

The Turkish Interior Ministry’s report claimed that no attacks or hate speech occurred against Turkish Armenians during the war clashes, saying they utilized police reports to conduct their investigation. Yet, on September 27, a group of Turks and Azeris protested in front of the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, waving their respective national flags and chanting. Another demonstration took place at the site where Hrant Dink was assassinated.

Turkey’s Armenian Patriarch Şahak Maşalyan commented on the plight of Armenians saying, “even though there are no threats to peace in the society except for some provocations, negative language hurts Turkey’s Armenians, demoralizes them and causes nervousness in people.” According to the Hrant Dink Foundation, Armenians, Syrian refugees and Greeks faced the most hate speech in Turkish media in 2019. Armenians were the most targeted of these with 803 instances of hate speech.

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