Erdogan is transforming Turkey into a totalitarian prison


Date posted: March 12, 2018

Washington Post Editorial Board

IN TURKEY under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the tweet has been turned into a crime, and a troubled democracy is being turned into a dictatorship. Gradually but inexorably, a nation that once aspired to be an exemplar of enlightened moderation is being transformed by Mr. Erdogan into a dreary totalitarian prison. In the latest setback, last week, 23 journalists were sentenced to prison for between two and seven years on patently ridiculous charges that they were members of a terrorist organization and had tweeted about it. Two others were convicted on lesser charges of supporting a terrorist organization.

Mr. Erdogan, the target of a failed coup attempt in July 2016, has embarked on a campaign of repression against perceived enemies in the press, government, academia and law enforcement, among other pillars of Turkish society. More than 60,000 people have been arrested and 150,000 forced from their jobs. Mr. Erdogan’s prime targets are the perceived followers of the opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in Pennsylvania. Mr. Erdogan claims Mr. Gulen — once his ally in Turkish politics — had incited the coup attempt, hence the charge of a “terrorist organization.” Mr. Gulen denies it.

Turkey once had a robust, independent press, but Mr. Erdogan has waged a multifront campaign: closing media outlets, forcing others into new ownership, and using friendly judges and prosecutors. In the latest cases, some reporters and editors were convicted for what they said on Twitter. A lawyer representing two journalists, Baris Topuk, said at an earlier hearing: “In our opinion, the name of the organization in which the defendants are accused of being members should be TTO: Tweetist Terrorist Organization. There are no weapons or bombs in the case, only news articles and tweets.” Ali Akkus, who was news editor of the now-defunct Zaman daily, had said on Twitter, “No dictator can silence the press.” The use of the word “dictator” was singled out by a prosecutor in the charges against him. Mr. Akkus received a sentence of seven years and six months in prison.

Cuma Ulus, the editor of the daily Millet, got the same sentence and declared earlier during the proceedings: “I have been a journalist for 21 years. I stood against terrorism and violence, [and] defended expression of freedom during all my life.” In the indictment, prosecutors cited three tweets and 22 retweets, accusing him of stirring up frenzy against the government.

Separately, 17 current and former writers, cartoonists and executives from the Cumhuriyet newspaper are also on trial. Mr. Erdogan is reportedly planning an assault on Internet broadcasting and free expression online, as well.

The show trials underscore how far Turkey has fallen from Western norms of democracy, human rights and rule of law. Mr. Erdogan is happily marching alongside Russia, China, Egypt, Cuba and others where legitimacy to rule rests on coercion and thought control. Mr. Erdogan’s dictatorship must be called out for what it is. Even if he covers his ears, the United States and other nations must protest, and loudly.

 

Source: Washington Post , March 11, 2018


Related News

Claims about TİB plot to libel Hizmet spark massive reaction

Jurists and politicians reacted harshly to a claim in an email by an anonymous whistleblower from the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB), the agency responsible for carrying out legal wiretaps, that there is a conspiracy to bring the Hizmet movement under suspicion of infiltrating TİB.

Dogan: Gulen earned sympathy among Alevis

Speaking of Gulen’s “mosques-cemevi project” proposal, Dogan said, “Gulen is an exceptional intellectual who can identify conspiracies against Alevis and Sunnis.” Cem Foundation President Prof. Izzettin Dogan gave noteworthy statements to the daily BUGUN concerning the recent issues ranging from Fethullah Gulen‘s remarks “Let’s not sacrifice all the bridges to build one. Mosques and cemevis should […]

Expert’s opinion: Turkey’s Demanding Extradition Of Fethullah Gülen Is Frivolous Grandstanding

Although ordinarily I respect his cool-headedness and self-control, in hindsight I wish President Obama had been equally blunt in responding to President Erdoğan’s demands that the US extradite Fethullah Gülen. All of his demands, beginning in 2014 and vigorously renewed in the wake of the July 15 attempted coup, have been completely illegitimate and unfair.

Why are they becoming terrorists?

Whatever the reason or the motivation for the horrible terrorist attacks in Paris, it is obvious that it is against the basic principles of Islam and should be strongly condemned by Muslims throughout the world.

Bosnian Arrest of ‘Gulenist’ School Head Sparks Extradition Fears

The sudden and unexplained detention on Tuesday of a Turkish school director in northwest Bosnia is being linked to pressure exerted by the Ankara authorities.

Prosecutor files criminal complaint against Gülen for seeking legal rights

Ankara Public Prosecutor Cevat İşlek has filed a criminal complaint against Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen for seeking to bring a lawsuit against Akşam daily columnist Emin Pazarcı for insulting him.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Historic ijma meeting in İstanbul

Erdogan’s Turkey silencing dissent, abusing terrorism charges – HRW report

Oxford Analytica: Gulen Inspires Muslims Worldwide

Is Hizmet making a feint at Turkish Government?

Romania Refuses to Extradite Journalist to Turkey

Alliance for Shared Values Statement on Detention of Turkish Nationals in Kosovo and Their Imminent Transfer to Turkey

CSOs slam ongoing black propaganda against Hizmet movement

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News