Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received on Monday the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights for his “distinguished service to humanity,” which he said will further encourage him to fight for human rights.
Erdoğan traveled to Libya on Monday for an official visit to attend the 3rd Africa-EU Summit and was also presented with the human rights award.
In his speech during the award ceremony, Erdoğan said Islamophobia is a crime against humanity, adding that no one can attack things that are sacred to Muslims using freedom of expression as an excuse. “Muslims come from a tradition that regards anti-Semitism as a crime against humanity,” prime minister said. Erdoğan added that he will continue to bravely protect the “truth,” adding that everyone is equal when it comes to justice. He said the prize he received will strengthen and support his struggle for human rights.
Lamenting that he has been criticized in his own country and in international circles for slamming human rights abuses and injustice wherever they occur, Erdoğan said such people “did not read our history [or accurately] perceive our civilization.”
He also reiterated that Turkey will not remain silent on the killing of nine innocent people by Israel in the Mediterranean, which he described as a sea of “friendship and brotherhood.” The Turkish prime minister added that he will continue to protect the rights of people in the Middle East and all around the world, adding that Turkey is calling for peace on a global scale through the Alliance of Civilizations initiative under the United Nations. He asserted that Turkey is striving for peace in the UN Security Council and continuing negotiation talks with the EU, trying to carry universal values to Turkey and the region.
“The only thing we want in our region and in the globe is peace and justice. If there is prosperity in the region, every state will benefit. All regional states would benefit from peace, harmony and stability. Everyone must be sure of one thing: Whatever we want for ourselves, we also want for others,” Erdoğan said.
Speaking with reporters after receiving the award late on Monday, Erdoğan said he discussed relations between Libya and Turkey while meeting with Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, adding that there is much Turkish investment in the Arab country and that ties between the two countries are growing.