Minorities Skeptical Over Call To Join Turkish Police Forces


Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
Oct 16 2013

ISTANBUL – Hurriyet Daily News
by Vercihan Ziflioglu

Minority communities have expressed skepticism at the Police
Department’s recent Twitter call for minority youth to apply to join
the force, saying authorities must take more measures to prove their

The directorate wrote on its Twitter account that all Turkish citizens
could become police officers regardless of their religion, race, or
sect in response to Syriac Orthodox Church Metropolitan Patriarchal
Vicar Mor Filuksinos Yusuf Cetin’s interview with a Turkish daily.

Istanbul-based Armenian-Turkish weekly Agos columnist Zakarya
Mildanoglu voiced skepticism over the call, saying more would be
needed to prove their sincerity over the issue.

“This call is a positive development. But this issue cannot be solved
with just a call. They must show their sincerity,” Mildanoglu told
Hurriyet Daily News yesterday.

He also said he wondered how the background and identity checks would
be done for minorities if they applied for a police posting. While
noting that there were obstacles for minorities in Turkey to become
pilots, prosecutors, judges, deputies or commissioned officer,
Mildanoglu said the call was still significant.

“Even if this call is not realized immediately, it will certainly
smooth the hate speech and increase the perception of [equal]
citizenship. This is not an easy process. Despite living together,
there is rupture of 100 years,” said Mildanoglu referring to the 1915
incidents during which many Armenians were killed.

Sabo Boyacı, the founder of the suryaniler.com [syriacs.com] said
the call was important, but also voiced concern over the realization
of the project.

“The call is important, but what about its content? I’d like to ask
whether they are really ready to realize this call,” said Boyacı.

“Although there are no legal obstacles before us becoming police,
unwritten laws stand before us like the sword of Damocles. When
will these unwritten laws be abolished,” Boyacı told the Daily
News yesterday.

Boyacı also said it would not be easy for the Syriac community’s
young members to reply positively to the call after having not been
accepted for over 100 years.

But Yeni Yuzyıl University’s Health Sciences dean, Professor Ersi
Abacı-Kalfaoglu, said on behalf of the Greek minority community living
in Turkey that the minority communities must do some soul-searching
over the issue.

“I had encountered no obstacle during my profession. We must do
self-criticism over why we have not applied to be police officers,”
she said.

Cetin told daily Milliyet on Oct. 14 that minorities were not given
posts in the judiciary, military or police departments in Turkey,
prompting the Police Department to write four tweets on its official
account in response.

“Every Turkish citizen can become a police officer in Turkey regardless
of religion, race or sect. We invite our Syriac citizens to apply
for the exams selecting police officers and become a police officer,”
it said Oct. 14.


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