Turks to stage protest against racist attacks in France

A rally to be held in Strasbourg on Wednesday will protest growing racist attacks against immigrants, including ethnic Turks living in France.

The French human rights associations and the Association of Solidarity with Turkish Workers (ASTTU) are among groups that are organizing the event. ASTTU representative Muharrem Koç said the French government’s recent immigration policies had encouraged assailants, the Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.

Koç said there were more than 30 racist attacks against ethnic Turks and foreigners in Strasbourg and its vicinity in the past two years and that none of the perpetrators of these crimes had been captured yet.

Arsonists in Hoenheim, a suburb of Strasbourg, attacked two houses inhabited by families of Turkish origin on Thursday night but there were no casualties and the fire in the neighboring houses was put out by firefighters and did not spread. Swastikas were drawn on walls and on a van parked in a yard.

Noting that the immigrant community is concerned, Koç said it is time for the French government to seriously start thinking about the causes of these attacks and take necessary measures.

Meanwhile, the Strasbourg-based Turkish association COJEP has requested an appointment to meet with authorities from Strasbourg to express their concern over the latest incidents.

Last month, the Student Congress Association’s Strasbourg office was the target of a racist attack. Furthermore, two cars owned by Faruk Günaltay, the Turkish director of the Odyssey Cinema Club in Strasbourg, were destroyed in racially motivated arson attacks in September of last year. Attackers also drew swastikas on the door of Günaltay’s house.

Muslim and Jewish prayer venues and cemeteries have previously been frequently attacked by racists in Strasbourg and regions surrounding it.

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