By Muhammet Ikbal Arslan</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - The West public should be told that Islamophobia is a crime, said newly appointed Turkish ambassador of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Friday.</p>    <p>“It is necessary to tell the Western public in all ways needed that Islamophobia is a crime,” Mehmet Pacaci, OSCE’s senior representative to combat intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, told Anadolu Agency.</p>    <p>Pacaci was appointed to the post on Thursday by Slovakia, who has taken over the 2019 Chairmanship of the OSCE.</p>    <p>During his term, he said, they are going to conduct field researches on the subjects of Islamophobia and intolerance against Muslims.</p>    <p>The reports of the researches would be brought to the agenda of the OSCE, he added.</p>    <p>Noting that there was a high rise in Islamophobic incidents over the recent years, Pacaci said: “Turkey has always been closely following these incidents.”</p>    <p>He went on to say that Turkish Presidency, Foreign Ministry and other relevant institutions gave great importance to this issue.</p>  <p> </p>  <p> </p>        <p>- Islamophobia not given importance</p>    <p>“Actually, Islamophobia needs to be accepted as a hate crime. It is a clear fact that anti-Islamism isn’t given importance as much as anti-Semitism,” Pacaci said, adding that European countries should show some effort in this regard.</p>    <p>“The public should be told in appropriate ways that Islamophobia is a crime. It would be a comprehensive and long-term effort,” he said.</p>    <p>Speaking about the presence of terror groups -- Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and PKK -- in the West which threaten Turkey’s security, he said the country needed to tell the Western nations that these groups also pose a threat for them.</p>    <p>FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.</p>    <p>The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children, in its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey.