Commission head: Turkey needs new regulations against hate crime

October 17, 2012, Wednesday/ 16:57:00/ HABİB GÜLER

Ayhan Sefer Üstün, the head of the parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission, has said that Turkey has to adopt new regulations to prevent hate crime, which is common in the country.

Speaking to Today's Zaman, Üstün highlighted that hate speech is frequently employed by politicians, organization representatives, celebrities and the media in Turkey, adding that the ruling party and all the opposition parties should work together to introduce new regulations against hate crime or make amendments to Article 122 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of language, race, color, sex, disability, political views, religion, sect or similar reasons.

The EU, which has similarly failed to take necessary measures against Islamophobia, which is highly prevalent across Europe, directs harsh criticism toward Turkey at every opportunity for the frequency of hate crime and speech in the country.

Noting that Western countries themselves have not conducted a successful fight against racism, Üstün said: “Turkey should, however, show the necessary sensitivities in this regard,” adding, “Hate speech is on the rise in Turkey, so new deterrents should be introduced to stem the increase in such crimes.”

Stating that Article 122 of the TCK actually protects people from hate crime, Üstün stated that judges and prosecutors generally hesitate to resort to this article. He also added that victims of hate crimes typically do not file a complaint against their offenders, with some victims even holding press conferences about the crimes and offenders instead of filing a complaint against them.

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