Sunday, April 24, 2016

More Turkeys: In Which the Author Breaks Turkish Law.

"Recep Tayyip Erdoğan." is a twerp.

There. I've done it. I could be arrested in Turkey now. I must never try and enter the place. In Turkey it is illegal to insult the president (translation: criticize his government), and it fully expects other governments to enforce this law in their own countries as well - as Germany was recently quite happy to do. Let's hope my government has more guts than Germany's.

Now, Turkey has seen fit to detain foreign journalists as well as her own, as Dutch writer Ebru Umar has learned.  

Tin-pot dictatorships detaining journalists is nothing new. What's galling about this case is that until recently Turkey claimed to be a democracy, and presumed for herself a place among civilized nations. It's depressing to see such places sink backwards, and depressing to see no one in power calling her out on her bullshit. According to the above article, more than 1800 cases have been prosecuted in Turkey since 2014, and more than a hundred journalists imprisoned. Umar isn't the first Duch Woman to be arrested either: they nabbed Frederike Geerdink last year.

Think about this next time you open up your local tabloid and see a grotesquely offensive caricature of your Prime Minister or President in the editorial cartoon. In many parts of the world publishing cartoons is a criminal offense. The ability to publish such cartoons is a very simple acid test of the health of a democracy. Those who would tamper with such rights are beneath contempt.

So yeah, Erdogan is a petty tyrant, a tin-pot dictator, a twerp, a scoundrel, an all around asshole. It needs to be said; stopping people from saying it doesn't make it any less true. 

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