Rumi Forum's blog on Hizmet, Fethullah Gulen, peacebuilding, education and interfaith efforts.

Monday, September 22, 2014

REPORT Hate Speech and Beyond: Targeting the Gülen Movement in Turkey

It's imperative for those with an interest in today's Turkey to read the recent report prepared by the Washington. DC based Rethink Institute . In particular it addresses the hate speech used against Fethullah Gulen and the Gulen (Hizmet) Movement. The hate speech was perpetrated by former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, currently the President of the Republic of Turkey.

On December 17, 2013, a graft probe alleging corruption among some members of the cabinet became public. Immediately thereafter, the Gülen movement (a.k.a. Hizmet), one of the largest faith-based communities in Turkey, became the target of offensive statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The paper argues that from the standpoint of human rights law, there is little doubt that some of the prime minister’s statements are fundamentally incompatible with the principles underlying the concept of human rights. Some of these expressions, indeed, amount toprima facie hate speech as understood by the European Court of Human Rights, the jurisdiction of which is already accepted by Turkey

According to the European Court of Human Rights, any language which spreads, incites, promotes or justifies hatred based on intolerance, including racial and religious intolerance, is considered to constitute hate speech and is unworthy of protection under the guarantees of freedom of speech. As a matter fact, if the element of hatred is detectable at first sight, the European Court of Human Rights defines such language as abuse of freedom of expression. In this regard, some of the language used by Prime Minister Erdoğan to describe the Gülen movement – i.e. “perverts”, “hashashins”, “traitors”, “spies”, “worse than Shiites”, “leeches” and “a terrorist organization” – do indeed constitute prima facie hate speech....

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