Turkey’s minorities, migrants suffered more than 200 attacks in 2023: report

A Syrian woman and her children walk on a street near shops in Gaziantep, in the south-west province of Turkey, on May 1, 2018. - In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, home to around half a million Syrians who fled the civil war south of the border, hundreds of Syrian businesses are thriving in a boost both for the displaced community and their host country. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)

Kurds, Alevis and migrants suffered at least 208 racist and discriminatory attacks throughout 2023, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Wednesday, citing a new study.

The report was released by the Center for Sociopolitical Field Studies, a research center based in Diyarbakır.

Kurds faced at least 145 of the attacks, which involved racism, dehumanization and denial of the Kurdish identity.

Migrants were the target of 50 of the documented attacks, the report said.

The report noted that the authorities’ disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of devastating February earthquakes in southern Turkey discriminated against Alevi-majority villages.

Anti-Kurdish sentiment has been on the rise in the country since the breakdown in mid-2015 of the government’s peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed separatist group designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

The authorities have been summarily ousting elected mayors in the predominantly Kurdish provinces and prosecuting Kurdish politicians for purported ties to terrorism, while the pro-government mainstream media has been criminalizing any expression of sympathy with demands for the official recognition of the Kurdish identity or regional autonomy.

The government’s multilingual applications and helplines often exclude the Kurdish language, which is the second most spoken language in the country.

Turkey’s migrants, including millions of Syrians under temporary protection status, have also been faced with increasing hostility amid the country’s worsening economy.

Mainly fueled by the opposition, the anti-migrant sentiment has cornered the government into announcing stringent measures, which has led to numerous allegations of forcible deportation and mistreatment.

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