By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA) - Turkish migrants increasingly face discriminatory policies and systematic racism in Western Europe, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.
"We are worried over growing discrimination faced by Turkish communities in Western Europe," Cavusoglu said during a meeting in the western German city of Dusseldorf, stressing that discriminatory and racist policies were increasingly becoming systematic, and backed by officials at various levels in those countries.
Turkey’s top diplomat met with Turkish Consul Generals serving in European cities for a special gathering to discuss various problems faced by Turkish communities in Europe and possible measures to enhance consular services.
Cavusoglu urged Turkish diplomats to give utmost importance to incidents of racist discrimination, xenophobic attacks and Islamophobic crimes, provide support for the victims and raise concerns in talks with the relevant authorities.
"As Consul Generals you are not only talking with our citizens, but also with politicians in the countries you serve," he said.
"Political leaders should act with common sense, they should refrain from a divisive rhetoric, shouldn’t use religious or ethnic differences for propaganda. This kind of othering rhetoric, using discriminatory rhetoric, creates a climate of hate which emboldens racist attacks. Please tell this during your meetings with interlocutors," he said.
Europe has witnessed growing number of cases related to racism and Islamophobia in recent years, triggered by the propaganda launched by far-right parties.
According to a report by Ankara-based think tank SETA, 676 Islamophobic incidents were documented in France in 2018, against 446 in 2017 with a 52% rise.
In Austria, 540 cases of Islamophobic incidents were recorded last year, compared to 309 cases in 2017.
In Germany, police recorded 813 hate crimes against Muslims last year, including insults, threatening letters, physical assaults and attacks against mosques.
More than 100 mosques and religious institutions were attacked.
The EU’s largest economy, a country of over 81 million people, hosts nearly 4.7 million Muslims -- the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. It includes three million Turkish minority population as well.