Nov 25

Erdoğan rants over seal hunt activists

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again criticized international responses to crises in Gaza and Syria on Monday, saying those who protest “the slightest of human rights violations” in certain countries or turn seal hunting into a “global issue” are silent in the face of tragedies in Gaza and Syria.

seal hunt activists

“You see that those seal hunt activists who make a global issue out of the hunting of seals do not show the slightest sensitivity toward the massacre of thousands of women and children in Syria and Gaza,” Erdoğan said in a speech at the Women and Democracy Association’s (KADEM) 1st International Women and Justice Summit in Ankara. “More than 300,000 people have been killed in Syria but there is still no reaction from the world. I talk to them [world leaders] but I get no response.”

Erdoğan’s seal hunting comments follow controversial remarks by a Turkish businessman who said his company controls more than 80 percent of the world’s seal fur trade. In response to criticism from Western animal rights groups targeting his company, which reportedly kills about 200,000 seals every year, the businessman, Hatem Yavuz, launched a new brand called “Fok You.”

Yavuz himself brushed aside criticism against him in remarks published last week, also saying that his critics ignore tragedies occurring in Gaza and Syria while he himself had recently visited Gaza and currently employs three Syrians.

Countries where seal hunting is prevalent, including Canada, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland, have been under strong pressure from animal rights groups decrying the hunting and clubbing to death of seals, even baby seals.

The EU has banned products that come from seals, including fur, meat and blubber, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) has upheld the EU’s decision on “moral grounds.”

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