No: 222, 01 December 2009, Press Release Regarding the Result of the Referendum Held in Switzerland as Regards the Initiative to Ban the Construction of Minarets

The result of the referendum held in Switzerland on 29 November 2009 as regards the initiative to ban the construction of minarets has created disappointment.

This decision is an unfortunate development which is contrary to fundamental human values and freedoms. Values such as multi-culturalism, tolerance and respect for human-rights are needed for social harmony and peace.

As one of the co-sponsors of the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative of the UN, Turkey endeavors to strengthen the atmosphere of mutual understanding and tolerance among different cultures and faiths. Therefore, the decision of the Swiss people has caused great dismay in Turkey.

On the other hand, we understand the concern that this decision has caused for more than 100 thousand Turkish citizens who have chosen Switzerland as their second homeland.

Not only Turkey but the international community as well expect from Switzerland, a country which earned a well-deserved place in the international community with its respect for diversity and culture of conciliation, to take the necessary steps to amend this situation which is against its own traditions.