Interview de la Consule générale dans le quotidien ’Daily Sabah’, 30 janvier 2015
We won’t fall into Islamphobia trap, says French consul-general
SARE SELVI ÖZTURK
The French consul-general in Istanbul, Muriel Domenach, in an interview with Daily Sabah, said : "Although the attacks are very different from 9/11 in concrete terms, they struck our heart and minds in symbolic terms because we lost the cartoonists that we grew up with."
Elaborating on the impact of the deadly events in Paris on Jan. 7, Muriel said France will not embrace the same U.S. surveillance legislation, called the Patriot Act that came into force following the 9/11 attacks, although she stressed that it would not mean French people will not be prepared for more security measures.
France saw a series of terrorist attacks in early January when gunmen killed cartoonists from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a group of people shopping in a kosher supermarket.
"People are wondering what went wrong with these French citizens that killed 17 of their compatriots. I tend to think that the current debate is healthy and people are looking at one another in a constructive way," Domenach said.
After a question about far-right parties seeking to benefit from the fear of Islam, Domenach said they will probably try to take advantage of it, expressing their right to do so within the context of law.
"I don’t think the French people are making the confusion between Islam and terrorism. I don’t think we will fall in this Islamophobia trap that the terrorists have set for us," Domenach, a former member of France’s permanent representation to NATO, said.
After the attacks, more than 50 world leaders met in Paris for a rally of national unity and an estimated 4 million people marched throughout France to pay tribute to the victims.
Describing the demonstration as the biggest event ever since the liberation of France in 1945, Domenach said they were touched by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s volunteering to present condolences in person even before the preparation of the march in which he walked with other world leaders in the streets of Paris.
"I felt solidarity across the variety of sentiments in Turkey. People here share the grief of the French people, with a human sense of solidarity," she said.
"I also felt the mobilization and solidarity that were the best responses to the ones who wanted to drag us into the conflict of civilizations between Muslims and the rest of the world," she added.
Stressing that they would be contributing to the debate on terrorism and insuring that there is no confusion between Islam, immigration and terrorism as French diplomats here in Istanbul, she said they would host Oliver Roy, a prominent French specialist on the Muslim world, adding that his latest book translated into Turkish will hit the shelves in Turkey soon.