Turkey's Gul: Intolerance dooms countries to tragedy

April 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, April 12 (UPI) -- Western countries will experience tragedies such as massacres if they aren't tolerant of cultures and religions, Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned.

"Islam and migrants have been a reality in Europe for centuries. As long as the continent of Europe doesn't approach segments which are different from the majority with tolerance, particularly in regards to religion, an occurrence of new inquisitions and Holocausts, as well as incidents evoking Srebrenica, are probable," Gul said Thursday during an international symposium in Ankara on Migration, Islam and Multiculturality in Europe.

Gul said racism and intolerance of different cultures and lifestyles are some of the chronic afflictions of Western societies, Hurriyet Daily News reported. Gul cited as examples increased support for political parties that portray migrants as the main reason for societal problems -- such as crime, poverty, unemployment or safety -- in European countries.

"When politics begins 'otherizing' a segment, then we see the alienation of migrants and minorities from the country in which they live and from the society in which they live as an inevitable consequence," Gul said during the conference sponsored by Hacettepe University's Migration and Politics Research Center. "As seen in countless examples in history, countries which have been able to perpetuate societal and cultural diversity in unity and harmony have stood out in history."

"Correspondingly, countries which have exerted efforts to either destroy or put pressure on societal and cultural diversity due to different fears have first of all lost their human richness; subsequently, they have experienced a loss of economic and political power," he said.

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