Jews and Syrians focus of Turkish hate speech - study

Hate speech targets Jews more than any other ethnic group in Turkey, closely followed by Syrians, according to a study by the Hrant Dink Foundation.

The report, based on scrutiny of the Turkish media between May and August, found 1,910 editorials and news reports targeting national, ethnic and religious groups.

Newspapers Yeni Akit, Milli Gazete, Yeni Mesaj, Yeni Cag ve Dirilis Postasi used the most intense hate speech, the study found. All of the publications are either close to the government or Turkish nationalists.

The foundation found Jews were targeted in 493 articles, Syrians in 472, Greeks in 256 and Armenians in 247. Anti-Christian language was used in 177 articles. Fifty-four bore hatred towards Buddhists.  

There was an increase in hate speech in May – during the diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Germany -- and in August, after attacks on Muslims in Myanmar and the Aug. 30 Victory Day.

Jewish society was depicted as violent and hostile, and Jews’ identity was targeted through generalizations rather than the actions of the Israeli state, Israel or the Israeli army, the study found.

Jews were also presented as a 'secret' power in 'conspiracy theories’ and shown as a threat to Turkey. Moreover, Jewishness was used as an expression of insult.

The report said that Syrian refugees were systematically blamed for criminal acts such as murder, theft and harassment. They were also blamed for security problems, terrorism, the negative economic outlook and unemployment.

Syrian refugees were also depicted as a threat to Turkey's demography and as a source of discomfort and 'tension' in general. Furthermore, some reports presented Syrian women as a threat to the unity of the family and community.