Ankara urges unity to fight xenophobia and Islamophobia

All countries should work together in the fight against xenophobia and Islamophobia, Turkish deputy foreign minister said Wednesday in a speech citing a recent racist terror attack in Germany.

Faruk Kaymakçı spoke at the high-level section of the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the UN in Geneva.

Expressing condolences to the families of nine people killed "in the heinous racist attack in Hanau, Germany last week," he said: "We lost four Turkish citizens in this act of racism and hostility towards Islam."

On Feb. 19, a German far-right extremist attacked two cafes and killed nine people with migrant backgrounds in the western town of Hanau. Four people with Turkish roots died in the , as did one Bosnian, one Bulgarian, one Romanian, and a dual German-Afghan national.

Kaymakçı said Turkey had voiced its concern about rising xenophobic attacks across Europe as well as manifestations of racism and other forms of discrimination around the world.

"It is time for all countries to step up their efforts to counter this alarming trend, first and foremost, by speaking with one voice and abandoning racist and xenophobic discourse," he said.

The deputy minister referred to the ongoing conflict in Syria that continues to pose a severe threat to regional peace and stability.

Kaymakçı said that since May 2019, over 1,800 civilians had been killed in Syrian regime attacks in the northwestern province of Idlib.

He cited UN figures that more than 1 million people are displaced and forced to flee towards the Turkish border and that at least 300 civilian facilities, including schools and hospitals, had been bombed.

"Stopping the regime's aggression and ensuring full compliance with the existing agreements on Idlib remains crucial. This is where we would like to see stronger support from the international community."

Kaymakçı noted that Turkey continues to uphold the human rights and dignity of the millions of refugees it hosts.

"With around 4 million externally displaced persons, including approximately 3.6 million Syrians, Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world," said the deputy minister.

In his speech, Kaymakçı also referred to more than 600 Azerbaijani citizens who were brutally murdered on Feb. 26, 1992 in the town of Khojaly for control of the now-occupied Upper Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

"More than a million Azerbaijanis were displaced within the country, as a result of the Armenian occupation of 20% of Azerbaijan," he said.

He stressed that a peaceful solution to conflict in Upper Karabakh region can only be found if Azerbaijan's sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected.



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