Translated from Gazete Karınca
Several attacks have occured in the recent past regarding people who have been subjected to assault and/or murder due to their ethnic identities in Turkey. The deaths of a Kurdish construction worker in Afyon and a Syrian refugee in Samsun are the most recent examples of such attacks. Cuma Daş states that, in fact, nothing occurs accidentally. Racism has increased in a seriously dangerous and organised way in Turkey.
According to Daş, social media is the sole space in which one can express ideas, react against such incidents and oppose such actions.
“Pressure has been exerted on people who are against the official ideology – in the streets, where people have been imprisoned for protests in front of buildings and associations; in their homes and rooms and finally now into their computers and smart phones, especially over the past five years. All the physical spaces where we can raise our voices and breathe are being removed”.
Daş argues that some alternative freedom spaces have been created to respond to this pressure. It is certain that one of these spaces is social media, he writes.
He adds that it is undoubtedly true that social media has pressured institutions of justice to consider injustices against women, massacres, racist assaults and child abuses: “Justice offices are forced to act over many protests arising from social media campaigns, when femicide or racist assaults are reported”.
However, he also believes that racism can also be promoted through the use of social media. Referring to videos released on social media, Daş observes that even as social media can provide a space for the expression of dissent, it can also be used to express all kinds of racist and malicious hatred on social media.
For Daş, racism should be considered a dangerous ideology rather than an illness: “The death of George Floyd in the United States” highlights its presence everywhere, not just in Turkey.
But the seriousness of the situation in Turkey can be seen by just viewing the following headlines over just the past ten days in Turkey: ‘Soldier fears for life after being attacked by colleagues for speaking in Kurdish’, ‘Syrian refugee murdered in racist attack in Samsun, Turkey’, ‘Armed assault against Kurdish workers in Afyon: one death, two injured’, ‘Kurdish workers attacked in Sakarya’ and ‘Signboards with Kurdish names of neighbourhoods removed in Van, Turkey’.
In this context, Daş states that nothing occurs accidentally. Racism has increased in a seriously dangerous and organised way in Turkey.