HRFT-İHD Joint Statement on the Racist Murders in Konya


We Condemn the Racist Murder of Dedeoğlu Family in Konya

Stop Hate Crimes and Violence!

Yesterday, on 30 July 2021, 7 people lost their lives in an armed attack perpetrated against the Dedeoğlu family in Konya’s Meram District while the family’s house was burnt down. A 50-60 person strong group had attacked the Dedeoğlu family on 12 May 2021 in a previous racist attack and 6 people had been wounded. Some of the assailants had been arrested only to be released after a short while. The Dedeoğlu family was not protected in spite of the protection orders and a heinous massacre that claimed the lives of 7 people was committed. We would like to extend our condolences to the Dedeoğlu family, and condemn and  criticize this alarming and appalling racist attack in the harshest way possible.

The Dedeoğlus are a Kurdish family who had migrated from Kars to Konya. Although the perpetrator or the perpetrators have not been identified yet, the rhetoric used and acts committed in the previous attacks against the Dedeoğlu family reinforce convictions that the perpetrators acted on racist motives in this massacre as well. The ethnic identity of the family was the primary reason why they were targeted in previous attacks. Thus, it does not seem possible to explain how a simple enmity,  as some have suggested, could end in such a massacre otherwise. This being the case, the fact that the authorities failed to take the necessary protective measures led to such an unforgivable end. It is also quite telling that the Konya Security Director had stood trial as one of the persons at fault in the Hrant Dink assassination case.

This incident has revealed once again that the conviction that violence is the sole effective instrument, which regulates social relations and solves problems, has been asserting itself more strongly within the society. A year ago, on 9 June 2020, İHD and HRFT released a joint statement pointing out to this alarming turn of events and urged the political power and the whole society to put an end to violence. We do reiterate our call.

In our joint statement we indicated that the primary reason why violence was gradually given even more credit within the society was the policies of the political power that polarized the society, made everything a security problem, glorified and blessed conflict and war. The political power not only does set a bad example for the society with such policies but also encourages the spread of discrimination and hate, therefore, violence in waves. Particularly hate speech, directed through HDP, renders all groups -notably the Kurds- that are otherized because they have different faiths, genders, sexual orientations, political beliefs vulnerable to attacks. Indeed, the fact that racist speech and attacks following the armed attack against HDP’s local İzmir office on 17 June 2021 have been on the rise all over the country is a concrete indicator of such state of affairs. Specifically hate speech against refugees and asylum-seekers upon the recent increase in migration traffic and hate speech against the Kurds produced on the grounds of successive wildfires in our country and many parts of the world that are brought about by global warming and climate crisis have reached incomprehensible dimensions. In fact what is burning is not only the forests but also our will to coexist peacefully, all our humane and social values.

We, thus, urge the political power once again to abandon discriminatory hate speech and policies and not to hurt social peace more. The first step in this direction should be to solve this deplorable incident in Konya’s Meram District without delay. The authorities should urgently initiate an impartial, transparent and effective investigation, and all persons and groups who might be subjected to racist hate crimes should actually be protected rather than on paper because the grave incidents that are happening today have kept on being committed as the authorities did not act in this way in previous similar incidents and the perpetrators were protected with a shield of impunity.

We would, at the same time, like to remind all that claiming the will to peaceful coexistence is also the responsibility of citizens. Therefore, we invite everyone for peace and human rights to take a joint stance and say no to discrimination, hate speech and violence.

We, as civil society organizations working for human rights, peace and democracy, will pay an observation visit to Konya’s Meram District to inquire into the incident upon forming a delegation as soon as possible in order to reveal the truth about this heinous massacre and to accurately inform the public.

We respectfully share with the public.

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) – Human Rights Association (İHD)