CHP makes push for bill on hate crime

The main opposition CHP published its study on hate crimes yesterday, requesting a comprehensive law to address the problem.

The government seems to be interested in the issue especially after the release of the anti-Islamic film “The Innocence of Muslims,” Aykan Erdemir, a CHP Bursa deputy and one of the people responsible for the study, told a group of journalists in Istanbul yesterday.

“But the issue cannot be reduced only to Islamophobia, and we should be very careful not to limit the freedom of speech or media freedom when fighting against hate crimes,” he said.

The most important thing is to track and report such crimes as Turkey lacks the mechanisms to do so, Erdemir said. “We do not even have exact numbers on hate crimes in Turkey; it is impossible to tell how many are committed every year.”

To deal with issues of tracking hate crimes, the CHP suggested the establishment of financially and administratively independent state institutions such as a Battle against Discrimination and Equality Council and National Human Rights Institution and the appointment of an ombudsman.

The CHP believes that a measure increasing penalties in cases of crimes committed based on bias against ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and other factors could be sufficient for now.

Erdemir said international reports and observations on Turkey, including the 2012 EU Progress Report, revealed that no progress had been made in the last decade in addressing the problems of hate crime and hate speech.

He also said hate speech was a problem that should be addressed separately from hate crimes. “For now, we must focus on hate crimes, because dealing with hate speech is a very delicate issue.”

Education is the basis in the fight against hate crimes and hate speech, and all public employees should go under sensitivity training, Erdemir said, adding that the CHP would approach the problem in a bipartisan way.

He also said he hoped an agreement could be reached between the ruling and opposition parties in Parliament to approve a law.

Özgür Korkmaz, Hurriyet Daily News, October/19/2012

About CHP EU Representation

The CHP was founded on 9 September 1923, about one and half month before the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. The first President of modern Turkey’s oldest party was M. Kemal Atatürk. Today CHP is a social-democratic party, member of the Socialist International and associate member of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament. The scope of the CHP bureau in Brussels is not limited to the bilateral framework of Turkey's EU accession process. Issues such as the information society, energy policies, social development, climate change, international trade and security are among the different focus areas. The EU-Turkey relations are about integration and need multiple, plural and horizontal channels of communication. The CHP supports and promotes Turkey's EU membership process also by being more present and active in Brussels The CHP's Representative to the EU is Ms Kader Sevinç who previously worked as an MEP advisor at the European Parliament and in the private sector.
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