Turkey’s Islamist PM Erdogan has been described as one of the few leaders to win Obama’s trust. Obama named him as one of his five favorite world leaders.
Not sated by his anti-Semitism, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tried his hand at another form of blatant racism.
In comments made about Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the center-left and secular Republican Peoples Party (CHP), Erdoğan declared, “Kılıçdaroğlu is striving every bit he can to raise himself from the level of a black person to the level of a white man.”
The comments were made during a weekly meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Black people aren’t a hypothetical thing in Turkey. Turkey’s involvement in the slave trade has left large numbers of Afro-Turks throughout the country.
Between 1860 and 1890 roughly 10,000 African slaves came into the Ottoman Empire each year – in total about 250,000 people. And there was a constant demand for new slaves, because “once a slave always a slave” was not the rule in the Ottoman Empire: many slaves, or at least their children, were set free at some point.
Olpak grew up there, finished school and married a white Turkish woman, with whom he was together for 25 years until her family said “There should not be any inheritance left to the Arab.” Blacks are often called Arab in Turkish.
When US President Barack Obama visited Turkey in April 2009, the association asked for an official meeting. As Olpak explained: “It was clear to us that we would be very lucky to be given an appointment, but we were able to use his visit to bring attention to our cause.”
Obama didn’t have time to meet with the Afro-Turks. He was too busy hanging out with Erdogan.