West should do more to fight Islamophobia: Turkish minister

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, speaks with His Excellency Dr. Ahmet Davutolu, Minister of...

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, speaks with His Excellency Dr. Ahmet Davutolu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, in front of the newly unveiled Monument to Fallen Diplomates in Ottawa, Ontario Sept 20, 2012. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)

Jessica Murphy, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 9:33 PM ET

OTTAWA – Turkey's foreign minister is calling on Western nations to do more to discourage elements within their countries that promote Islamophobia.

Ahmet Davutolu was in Ottawa on Thursday to unveil a monument to mark the murder of a Turkish diplomat in Ottawa in 1982. It was built to honour all diplomats and public servants who have died while serving their countries overseas.

“This is a historic moment, especially after the incident in Libya,” Davutolu said, referring to the recent death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in a recent attack on the American embassy in that country.

Referring to the creators behind the video that mocked Islam's Prophet Mohammed and sparked widespread protests throughout the Mideast and elsewhere, Davutolu said: “These circles are making such provocations, and therefore we are facing so many problems in several countries.”

Davutolu had praise for Canada, calling it a “country of multiculturalism,” but raised concerns about things like the profiling of Muslims in airports in U.S. after 9/11.

“Countries can change the psychological atmosphere where these provocations happen,” he said.  

Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in the wake of the widespread protests over the video that Islamophobia should be considered a crime against humanity.

The Turkish Weekly newspaper reported that Erdogan would bring his complaints about the video and Islamophobia to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25.

“I am the prime minister of a nation of which most are Muslims and that has declared anti-Semitism a crime against humanity. But the West hasn't recognized Islamophobia as a crime against humanity — it has encouraged it,” the paper quotes him as saying.

During the joint news conference Thursday evening, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said: “Turkey has a partner in Canada” but stopped short of pledging this country's support for Erdogan's call for Islamophobia to be recognized as a crime against humanity.  

 


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