World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that Turkey recognizes anti-semitism as a crime, while not a single Western country recognizes Islamophobia as such Today`s Zaman reported.
Speaking to journalists in Sarajevo after a series of visits to Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Erdogan commented on the 14-minute trailer for "Innocence of Muslims," an obscure film that mocks the Prophet Muhammad, which sparked violent riots across various Muslim nations.
Erdogan said he will talk about the movie that has angered Muslims on Sept. 25 at the UN General Assembly. He noted that the reaction against the movie in Turkey has been restrained. "In the last past 10 years, extremes [in Turkey] have been curbed. In a way, we acted like a lightning rod."
He said the Turkish government has made its statement on the movie, giving messages in Yalta, and later during his visit. He said reactions against the movie continued and increased, noting statements from Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, who defined the movie as an "aggression on Islam," has played a role in this.
Erdogan said he will continue to give messages at the next UN General Assembly meeting about adopting international legislation against insulting religion. "I am the prime minister of a nation, of which most are Muslims and that has declared anti-semitism a crime against humanity. But the West hasn't recognized Islamophobia as a crime against humanity -- it has encouraged it. [The film director] is saying he did this to provoke the fundamentalists among Muslims. When it is in the form of a provocation, there should be international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred, on religion. As much as it is possible to adopt international regulations, it should be possible to do something in terms of domestic law."
He further noted, "Freedom of thought and belief ends where the freedom of thought and belief of others start. You can say anything about your thoughts and beliefs, but you will have to stop when you are at the border of others' freedoms. I was able to include Islamophobia as a hate crime in the final statement of an international meeting in Warsaw."
Erdogan said the government will immediately start working on legislation against blasphemous and offensive remarks. "Turkey could be a leading example for the rest of the world on this."
The prime minister also shared his opinion about the difference between the Turkish reaction and Arab reactions at the film. He said his government has acted like a lightning rod and extremes in Turkey have been curbed. "If this hadn't happened, it would be like the pre-1980 times here. We have girls here [Bosnia] who come to us and say, crying, 'You opened the door of universities [for headscarved women], and the imam-hatip schools.' The percentage of female students [from Turkey] studying here has fallen to 35-40 percent from 60 to 75 percent."
In response to a question on whether relations with Israel seem to be normalizing, Erdoğan said, "Israel has not found itself a good position in the eyes of the Islamic world. They are also not making any effort to start a normalization process." He said Israel only has ties with Turkey and should make an effort to maintain good relations. Erdoğan said the Israeli government had sent him a businessman who will act as a go-between, but did not name this person. He said he'd told this person -- who he said is the richest Jewish businessman in the world -- that Turkey has three conditions for normalization, which are an official apology to Turkey for a May 2010 attack on a Turkish passenger ship bringing aid to Gaza, paying compensation for the attack that left nine Turkish citizens dead and ending the blockade of Gaza.
Erdogan said he was hopeful about a recent initiative launched by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, whereby the foreign ministers of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey will be meeting this week.
Turkish nationals living overseas begin voting at 42 customs offices ahead of the August 10 polls to choose the country's first directly elected president.
Dozens of detainees were released after a series of arrests aimed at dismantling the so called 'parallel state' group.
Humanitarian ceasefire approved by Hamas and Israel set to last for 12 hours.
A worldwide boycott could alter the Israeli economy, enterpreneurs from the Anatolian Businesspersons' Association and Istanbul Commodity Exchange said.
Killings, kidnappings and robbery now a part of everyday life in Libya amid ongoing clashes, saidTurks returning home.
Turkish think-tank ORSAM released a report to underline the miserable situation of Iraqi Turkmen.
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan was given the Profile of Courage award in 2004 by the Jewish American Congress for his efforts in the Middle-East peace process.
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan discussed the Israel-Gaza in an exclusive interview with CNN, and accused Israel of being a “terror state”.
When integrated with the Marmaray, the under-sea tunnel connecting the both sides of Istanbul, a passenger will be able to travel directly through the country's Asian and European sides without requiring any other means of transportation.
Jewish people should not be identified with Israeli military or political policy, say academics.
Turkish dailies reported Thursday on the latest developments of the operation in Istanbul and other cities against police officers and officials in the wiretapping probe, along with the latest clashes in Israel and Palestine.
Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu postponed a trip to France and left for Qatar in an effort to reach ceasefire between Israel and Gaza.
A major operation in Istanbul and other cities sees 22 more police personnel detained and 14 of them have been sent to court.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu three times on Thursday.
"If Israel continues with this attitude, it will definitely be tried at international courts," Erdogan told a rally of supporters in the southern port city of Mersin.
A major operation in Istanbul and other cities saw 104 police officers and chiefs detained and 22 of them sent to the court.