ISTANBUL — Armenians, Syrian refugees in Turkey and Greeks are at the top of the list of groups targeted with hate speech by the Turkish media in 2019, according to the “Hate Speech and Discriminatory Discourse in Media 2019 Report,” published by the Hrant Dink Foundation.

A total of 5,515 hate speech items targeted 80 different groups according to the report, which was prepared as part of the Media Watch on Hate Speech project, and indicated that 4,364 articles and news stories targeted national, ethnic and religious groups in Turkey in 2019. The report analyzed the number of hateful, homophobic, xenophobic and sexist items in Turkish media in the context of rising nationalism and intolerance. According to the report, the media is instrumental in spreading hate and intolerance as much as tolerance and social solidarity. By monitoring the media, it has aimed to detect intolerant discourse and strengthen social solidarity.

According to the report, Armenians were the most targeted group in 2019 with 803 hate speech items. They were portrayed as enemies and associated with violence, terrorism and massacres (in the context of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict). Armenians were also mentioned together with the separatist and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as divisive forces who target Turkey’s social cohesion and political unity.

Syrian refugees in Turkey were the second most targeted group, with 760 hate speech items. According to the report they were systematically coded as criminals, murderers and thieves who posed imminent security problems including terrorism. Syrians were also represented in the media as the reason for the current adverse economic situation in Turkey and rising unemployment numbers.

Greeks were the third most negatively represented group. The report cites the escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey regarding drilling and gas exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean as the context for hate speech towards Greeks. The plight of refugees on the Turkish-Greek border was also framed as the fault of Greece as a nation, the report says.

Jews (676 items), Christians (604 items), Greeks who hold Turkish citizenship (603 items), English (223 items), French (140 items), Arabs (123 items) and non-Muslims (98 items) were the other most frequently targeted groups.

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