Jews, Armenians are focus of hate speech in Turkish media - study

Jews and Armenians are the two most frequent targets of hate speech in Turkish media in 2018, according to a study by the Hrant Dink Foundation.

The report found 4,839 editorials and news reports targeting national, ethnic and religious groups, with 6,517 hate speech content against 98 different groups.

Jews and Armenians were followed by Syrians, Greeks and Christians, according to the report.

There was a correlation between an increase in the use of hate speech and social controversial events like the opening of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, commemoration of the Armenian genocide on Apr. 24, as well as the diplomatic row between Turkey and the United States over the imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.

Jewish society was depicted as hostile and "secret power" in conspiracy theories targeting Turkey and Jewish identity, in general, was held responsible for the actions of the Israeli state, Israel or the Israeli army, the study said.

Moreover, Jewishness was used as an expression of insult and Armenians in the country were targeted through relating them to an Armenian armed group ASALA (Armée Secrète Arménienne de la Libération de l’Arménie) which killed 42 Turkish diplomats in various capitals between 1975 and 1987.

Pro-government and nationalist publications, such as Yeni Akit, Milli Gazete, Yeni Mesaj, Yeni Çağ and Diriliş Postası, used the most intense hate speech, the report found.

The report also shed light on Turkish media’s reports on 3.6 million registered Syrians living in Turkey.

Syrian refugees were regularly blamed in the media for many of Turkey's long list of current problems. The report said that Syrian refugees were systematically related to criminal acts such as murder, theft and harassment while they were also blamed for security problems, terrorism, the economic crisis and unemployment.

Besides, Turkish media overall painted Syrian refugees as a threat to the country's demography and some reports specifically attacked Syrian women, labelling them as a threat to the unity of the family.