Thousands of Roma gathered in Istanbul from all corners of Turkey. PM Erdogan gave a rousing speech in which he said that he had grown up among them in the streets of Kasimpasha, the gritty Istanbul neighborhood of his youth, where he knew they had been called derogatory names, gypsies. He cited a Roma saying, “However dark the color of the fruit, the riper it is,” to make his point that it is inhumane and unconscionable to shun people because of their race. That Turkish soil has never witnessed racism or allowed antisemitism. Then there was music and dancing… (click here, in Turkish, here in English. Photos from Radikal)
I couldn’t help but wonder what the Roma from Sulukule or Selendi were thinking. The Selendi Roma, who had recently been violently driven from their homes, held up banners at the event saying their children wouldn’t forget.