Turkish premier pledges to ‘look after’ Roma people

Ahmet Davutoglu says he will appoint a Roma consultant at Prime Ministry.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has pledged to look out for Roma people.

“Turkey will look after every Roma person who is deported from Europe,” said Davutoglu during a meeting where he received representatives and opinion leaders from the Roma community in Istanbul Sunday.

“Roma people are one of the top issues in Europe right now. You know how they were treated in France and how they were deported during Sarkozy’s term,” Turkish premier said.

Davutoglu also said “no community can be defamed because of their culture and social belongings,” adding that there would be “no discrimination towards Roma people at all.” 

“Roma people and all the other communities in Turkey are brothers. Turks, Kurds, Sunnis, Alewites, we are all brothers. I will set up a mechanism in Prime Ministry if you are exposed to discrimination and I will appoint a Roma brother as a consultant,” Davutoglu added.

In 2010, during Nicolas Sarkozy presidential term, the French government launched a repatriation program to send thousands of Roma back to their home country due to the presence of illegal camps in the country.

Although Roma people are EU citizens, French law requires them to get a work and residency permit to allow them to stay more than 3 months.

Expulsons of Roma people have not ceased since Francois Hollande was elected president in 2012.

In 2013 alone, 165 camps were dismantled and 19,380 were sent away – a little more than the two previous years combined – wrote French daily Le Monde in January 2014, citing a report by the European Roma Rights Center.