Discrimination rising within Turkish-Dutch community over Erdogan, Gülen support

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The attempted coup in Turkey last year led to a significant increase of discrimination based on political affiliation reports in the Netherlands, according to the Dutch national association against discrimination LVD. Last year the association received 151 reports of discrimination based on political affiliation, compared to only 14 such reports in 2015. Most of these reports came from Turkish-Dutch, NOS reports.

According to LVD president Frederique Jans, the failed military coup in July 2016 also led to disagreements in the Netherlands. Relatively many of these politically-based discrimination reports came from Rotterdam. "They were done, for example, by people who follow the Gulen movement or are believed to do so. There were, for example, shopkeepers that were boycotted or had graffiti on their doors or were even threatened", he said to the broadcaster.

The Turkish government sees cleric Fethullah Gulen as the main rival of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They also believe him to be the mastermind behind the attempted coup, since which thousands of Gulen supporters in Turkey were arrested, prosecuted and dismissed from their jobs. Gulen himself lives in the United States.

In total the 20 anti-discrimination agencies across the country received 4,596 discrimination reports. In 40 percent of the cases, race was involved. Most reports still relate to discrimination in the labor market, including incidents in the workplace and in the application process. "There wre people with an Arabic name who believe they were rejected due to their name. When they applied using a Dutch name, they were invited for an interview, while their CVs were exactly the same." Jans said to the broadcaster. 

The LVD also received a number of reports against politician Sylvana Simons, especially during the Zwarte Piet discussion. According to Jans, many Dutch reported that Simons is racist, mainly because they don't want Zwarte Piet's appearance to change.

Another remarkable report was one from a vegan who was rejected for a job as an elderly companion. The organization rejected his application because they felt his ideas on nutrition were "too extreme" and won't be understood by the elderly. The organization also pointed out that he will not be able to go out to eat with the elderly or take them to a zoo. The anti-discrimination office started mediation and it resulted in the man getting the job.

According to the LVD, the 4,596 discrimination reports are only the tip of the iceberg. Most victims never report what happened to them.