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Media hate speech targets Turkey’s Alevis most, report reveals

Turkey's Alevi community was the most targeted community in articles or news items that are considered to be hate speech between September and December of 2013, according to a recent report from the Hrant Dink Foundation released on Thursday.

The Hrant Dink Foundation regularly monitors the media for stories that target religious and ethnic minorities, or other disadvantaged groups such as the disabled or non-heterosexual individuals. The number of headlines and news stories that vilified specific groups on the basis of ethnicity, religion or other characteristics steadily rose in the timeframe, the report has shown.

Turkey’s non-Muslim communities — Christians, Armenians and other groups –were the target of hate speech in the Turkish media, as was the case in previous reports. Kurds and Turkey’s Greeks were also the victims of hate speech, albeit to a lower degree, this time.

Out of the 25 samples that were examined, 15 of them included elements of hate speech against male and female homosexuals, the report revealed. With findings, the challenges faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Turkey are still festering and need to be addressed by the authorities.

The report consists of two chapters, with the first focusing on hate speech on a broader scale that includes stories, headlines and various contents against certain groups or individuals. The second chapter was specially prepared with an exclusive focus on Turkey’s Alevis. The report was prepared by Nil Mutluer after a detailed discourse analysis of a number of newspapers, including Bir Gün, Habertürk, Hürriyet, Milliyet, Özgür Gündem, Star, Sözcü, Yeni Şafak, Yurt and Zaman.

The report reveals that newspapers which appeal to different segments of society due their political affiliation or social tendencies in a broad political spectrum produce the same discriminative language towards Alevis.

After conducting a detailed analysis of the newspapers’ coverage of various events concerning Alevis, such as the joint mosque-cemevi (Alevi house of worship) project, the government’s Alevi opening, a conference on Alevi issues held by the Abant Platfom, organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), the report said there is an ongoing discriminative language in the media.

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