Erdogan Under Fire At Home For Remarks On Armenian Workers


2010-03-18 16:56:00

ArmInfo. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks about the
possible deportation of illegal Armenian workers in Turkey have
angered civil society organizations despite the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AK Party) attempts to explain that Erdogan did not
intend to expel these workers but only wanted to underline Turkey’s

Today;s Zaman writes that Ozturk Turkdogan, the chairman of the Human
Rights Association (IHD), said Erdogan’s remarks could easily be
considered a "threat" and as discrimination. "These remarks could lead
some people to think that to expel people is a 2010 version of forced
migration. This mentality is far from human rights-oriented thinking.

People have the right to work, and this is universal. There are many
Turkish workers all over the world; does it mean that Turkey will
accept their expulsion when there is an international problem?

Secondly, these remarks are discriminatory; there are many workers
in Turkey of different nationalities," he said.

Ceren Ozturk from the immigrant solidarity network said that free
circulation of people is a universal right and Erdogan’s remarks
are not acceptable. "The right to free circulation cannot be used
as a wild card in international relations. Immigrants have to have
equal rights with Turkish citizens because they are producing and
contributing to society," she said.

"Look, there are 170,000 Armenians in my country — 70,000 of them
are my citizens, but we are managing [tolerating] 100,000 of them in
our country. So, what will we do tomorrow? If it is necessary, I will
tell them, ‘Come on, back to your country.’ I will do it. Why? They
are not my citizens. I am not obliged to keep them in my country. I
mean these are [defenders of the Armenian claims of genocide],
their attitude is affecting our sincere attitude in a negative way,
and they are not aware of it," Erdogan told the BBC.

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