Ambassador's Letter To The Cjfe

Ottava Büyükelçiliği 21.01.2015

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
197 Wurtemburg Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 8L9

January 21, 2015

Dear Mr Amber,

Thank you for your letter dated January 19, 2015.

Firstly, I feel obliged to bring to your attention a matter of principle. Even though there is nothing in my letter which we cannot stay behind, I wish to remind you that the letter was addressed to the CJFE, not general public. I do not remember that the minimal courtesy to ask our consent to release it on your webpage was extended. That is why you are now reading this letter on our webpage before you receive the hard copy.

Secondly, let me reiterate our views on terrorist attacks in Paris. Since the first day of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Turkey has adopted a firm stance against this heinous terrorist attack at the highest level. Turkish Prime Minister was among the leaders attended the ceremony. We believe that terror has no religion, nationality or any value that it can represent. Terrorism is a crime against humanity and cannot be justified under any circumstances. The attack has demonstrated once again the savage character of those who have adopted violence as a means to preserve and disseminate their views and notions.

Regarding the domestic publication of controversial cartoons in a Turkish daily newspaper, I would like to state that freedom of media does not mean the freedom to insult, especially if it is towards prophets of religions. It is truism to say that it cannot be called freedom of media if it is an insult against a prophet or religion. Considering the sensitivity in Turkey about Prophet Muhammad as well as other Prophets, publishing those cartoons can be interpreted by others as an open sedition as well.

Taking this opportunity, I wish to emphasize that the principle of freedom of expression cannot be used to disguise the Islamophobic arguments and discourse which has become a new form of racism and the increasing extremist stream in many countries. Any religion cannot be characterized as terrorism because of individual incidents or actions. This kind of attitude, which contradicts the universal fundamental freedoms, can be counterproductive to produce different kinds of dividing lines among societies. Any policy, which does not establish the right balance between the freedom expression and the right to be protected against the products of hatred and psychological violence is destined to fail.

I will be happy to meet you during one of my visits to Toronto to discuss all these issues in detail.

Yours sincerely,

Selçuk Ünal
Ambassador


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