Aggie linked yesterday to Bret Stephens’s brilliant column on what Obama got wrong (world’s longest book), which I read on my phone in the pre-dawn hours from the road, trying not to shout “[bleep] yeah!” at every irrefutable point.
I want to highlight one of them:
Next example: Turkey. In 2009 Mr. Obama decided to elevate Turkey and its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as his core partner in the Middle East. “On issue after issue we share common goals,” he told the Turkish parliament in April 2009. In 2012 he said that he and Mr. Erdogan had developed “bonds of trust.”
Yet in 2009 it was already clear that Mr. Erdogan was orchestrating huge show trials against his political opponents based on outlandish charges. By 2010 it was clear that he was an avowed supporter of Hamas, not to mention a vocal anti-Semite. In 2012 the Committee to Protect Journalists noted that Turkey had more journalists in prison than China and Iran put together.
Bet you didn’t know that.
Three leading free speech groups have today sent an open letter to President Erdogan on the eve of his first address to the UN General Assembly as head of state, raising their concerns about the protection of freedom of expression in Turkey.
English PEN, ARTICLE 19 and Reporters Without Borders have called on President Erdogan to promote a culture that is favourable to freedom of expression.
23 September 2014
Dear President Erdo?an
We are writing to express our concerns about the threats and intimidation towards the journalist Ceylan Ye?insu. As you will be aware, Ms Ye?insu is a reporter for the New York Times based in Turkey and wrote an article about the recruitment of Turkish citizens by the Islamic State (ISIS) on 15 September. This was an important article in the public interest, an example of high quality and responsible investigative journalism that offers insight into ISIS at a critical time.
We were therefore dismayed to learn that following the article’s publication, Ceylan Ye?insu has been personally targeted by elements of the media sympathetic to the ruling AKP and on social media, with threats that pose a serious risk to her own safety. We were also gravely concerned to read reports that you yourself denounced the article as ‘shameless, immoral, treason’.
This is not an isolated incident. There is now a worrying trend of publicly smearing the reputation of journalists in Turkey, including threats to their lives.
Is this one of the “common goals” Obama says we share? Considering the way Obama treats any journalist with an independent mind (or how he would if there were such a creature), perhaps so. We’re hardly more supportive of Israel than Islamist Turkey.
More on those “bonds of trust”:
After years of publicly restraining himself regarding Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told US Secretary of State John Kerry that the words of the leader of Washington’s close NATO ally were anti-Semitic.
According to the paper, the crowd frequently interrupted Erdogan’s speech by chanting “Down with Israel.”
“They always curse at Hitler, but they now even exceed him in barbarism. Some Americans ask why Mr. Prime Minister [Erdogan] makes such comparisons with Hitler. What’s that to you? You’re America, what’s Hitler got to do with you,” he said.
We killed his mother[bleeping] ass, Dogorgan, that’s what. Ignorant sheisskopf. More on the subject if you have the stomach.
Back to the human rights crowd:
The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the 1982 Turkish Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as in a number of international treaties to which Turkey is a state party, including Article 19 of the ICCPR and Article 10 of the ECHR.
We ask you to use your influence as President of Turkey to foster a culture where freedom of expression can flourish and where Turkey’s talented community of writers, journalists and publishers can exercise their right to freedom of expression freely and without fear of intimidation.
Blah, blah, blah. Shut up. Appealing to fascists like Dogorgan and Putin (and I could go on) is a waste of time. Waste yours if you like. Include me out.