The Tolerance Center at the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia responds to cases of anti-Turkish xenophobia that have recently become frequent16 08 2012
Unfortunately, cases of hate speech have recently become more frequent and assumed a new direction. Anti-Turkish propaganda has become the main element of xenophobic rhetoric of a part of the political spectrum, the media, and experts.
Anti-Turkish statements are made both by politicians and representatives of the media. Politicians often make statements that “Ajara must be cleared of anti-Georgian forces”, “The Turkish expansion” on the territory of the region must stop, etc.
Unfortunately, Turkophobic statements were also made at a recent political rally at which speakers talked about different types of Turkish threats in Georgia.
Anti-Turkish appeals and statements are also frequent in the media. In a number of cases, the media serve as a conduit of similar statements, while in other cases media outlets themselves are the authors of such statements.
“Is Batumi Turkey’s territory?” “Turkish expansion is under way in Adjara”; “Only the Turkish flag”; “The Azizization of Adjara” – some news items of TV stations and print outlets are presented with these and other similar titles.
The aforementioned process portrays Turkey as a hostile country which is engaged in the process of purposeful conquering of Georgia, and especially Adjara, through different methods – economically, religiously, culturally, and politically.
Recently, there appeared inscriptions “Batumi without Turks” on the buildings in Batumi, which can be a response to such rhetoric.
Intensive anti-Turkish propaganda may cause a change in the attitude of citizens of Georgia and the society and formation of stereotypes and negative attitudes. The aforementioned will create a significant barrier for the friendly Georgian-Turkish relations, on the one hand, and may pose real threats to Turks who live in Georgia and are related to our country in one way or another, on the other hand.
We call on political parties, the media, social organizations, and public persons once more to refrain from using xenophobia and hate speech, so that ethnic or/and religious intolerance is not encouraged in the society.