Speaking at the Foreign Ministry’s annual ambassadors' conference earlier this week, Erdogan said that “cultural racism” was on the rise globally, particularly in Western countries. “Insulting women wearing headscarves in the middle of streets, burning our sacred book Quran under police protection, leaving a severed pig’s head at our mosques … all these examples lay bare the frightening dimensions of Islamophobia,” he said, referring to reported cases in Sweden, Austria and Germany.
The Turkish president also charged that some European countries were shutting down associations and mosques with “flimsy excuses.”
“I expect you to stand by our people more firmly and defend our citizens’ rights and dignity determinedly under all circumstances. We should find a way to neutralize the increasingly intensifying pressure on associations and mosques through political and legal channels,” he told ambassadors.
In a speech back in March, Erdogan denounced discrimination against all vulnerable people around the world, stressing that Islamophobia is not only an issue for Muslims but it should also be for all people around the world.
Anti-Muslim sentiments are continuing to spread like a plague in Western countries, he said at the times, adding that such hatred “is poisoning all segments of society, from people on the street to politicians, workers, and civil servants.”