Turkish President Claims Jailed Journalists Are Actually Terrorists

from the wobbles-so-much-you-can't-even-call-it-'spin' dept

Turkish president Recep Erdogan is at it again. Not content to merely be viewed as a megalomaniacal, ring-coveting authoritarian, Erdogan is using his time in mixed company to assure the world he’s angling for the title of “tyrant.”

Erdogan’s long history of abusing laws to shut critics up has been covered extensively here. He’s gone from a comical but dangerous politician to the leading abuser of his own constituents in record time. When not attempting to push foreign countries to play by his censorship rules, Erdogan is locking up dissidents and journalists at an alarming rate.

Of course, they’re not journalists… at least not when Erdogan’s telling the story. While speaking at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City, the Turkish president had this to say about the journalists in his country’s jails.

You have been misled, Erdogan told Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait, who interviewed him on stage. “The ones who have been sentenced, who have been imprisoned, are not journalists. Most of them are terrorists.”

Define “terrorist.” In the wrong hands/minds, the word “terrorist” could be used to describe anyone threatening to the party in power, even if nothing more dangerous than words or thoughts have been deployed. I have no doubt Erdogan believes journalists are terrorists, even if they’ve never done anything more than criticize him and his policies.

But Erdogan at least went into a little more detail about this claim. He explained the vast amount of terrorism participated in by the terrornalists he’s tossed in his jails.

“Many have been involved in burglaries and some have been caught red handed as they were trying to empty ATM machines.”

Odd. That sounds more like normal criminal activity. It does not sound like terrorism. I realize terrorists need to fund their activities, but this doesn’t sound like terrorist acts. This sounds like bog standard theft.

So, these journalists Erdogan calls “terrorists” (because of their alleged burglaries) remain in jail. There’s at least 150 still imprisoned, according to the Quartz article. But that’s not the limit of Erdogan’s abuse of the press. Erdogan shut down hundreds of media outlets in an initial assault on the press, following it up with mass arrests. A few thousand journalist were swept up by Erdogan’s post-coup-attempt purge, most of whom ended up with no place to work and no press credentials to use.

After this, Erdogan went on to make many more counterfactual statements, including claiming he doesn’t take proactive steps to stifle criticism and spinning the beatings handed out by his bodyguards during his visit to the White House as an all-out assault by crazed anti-Turkey Americans while US law enforcement officers stood idly by.

These are all hallmarks of a sociopathic authoritarian — the type of person who always believes they’re right even when the rest of the world agrees they’re wrong. His sweeping away of facts with provably untrue statements shows he really doesn’t care if anyone believes him, but will still do everything in his power to make sure those that don’t believe can’t be heard.

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Comments on “Turkish President Claims Jailed Journalists Are Actually Terrorists”

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26 Comments
Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Definition of terrorist

Just leave out the word “violent”, and you have a working definition that allows you to demonize anyone.

“A person, group, or organization that uses activism, or the threat of activism, to further political goals.”

That definition is used even here in the United States to silence those terrible activists.

mcinsand (profile) says:

crimes against humanity

>>empty ATM machines.”

Okay, for that alone, sentence him harshly. ‘ATM machine’ is the same as saying ‘automated teller machine machine.’ This, ‘PIN number,’ and ‘MSDS sheet’ should draw instant condemnation.

Okay, I was being playful, and now it’s time to be ashamed when the real topic is what is happening to the journalists. Silencing people just for not parroting the party line is the real terrorism…more than just an abuse of power.

Daydream says:

Re: Quibble!

Okay, for that alone, sentence him harshly. ‘ATM machine’ is the same as saying ‘automated teller machine machine.’ This, ‘PIN number,’ and ‘MSDS sheet’ should draw instant condemnation.

I’d like to note that just saying ‘PIN’ could confuse people as to what kind of pin you’re talking about (sewing pin? Drawing-board pin? Instagram pin?), ‘PI Number’ sounds like you’re talking about the phone number of a private investigator, and ‘Personal Identification Number’ is 11 syllables and a bit much to say on a regular basis.

I’d argue that saying ‘PIN number’ makes sense, not because you’re saying ‘Personal Identification Number number’, but rather you’re saying ‘PIN (as in a number)’, ‘number’ in this case being used as a clarifying statement. You might also say, for example, ‘banking PIN’ for the same purpose of adding a clarifying word.

Quibble-commentator, away! ~whooosh~

Anonymous Coward says:

Define "terrorist." In the wrong hands/minds, the word "terrorist" could be used to describe anyone threatening to the party in power, even if nothing more dangerous than words or thoughts have been deployed. I have no doubt Erdogan believes journalists are terrorists, even if they’ve never done anything more than criticize him and his policies.

This same definition has been used to label many enemies of the west as terrorists. Is a radical religious leader who preaches death and destruction on all who disbelieve that specific flavor of religion but who has never hisself committed any act of aggression a terrorist? Even though his only crime is use of "dangerous" words and thoughts?

Terrorism is all about perspective. Demonize your foes but keep one foot in the realm of reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

===== Define “terrorist.”

How is Erdogan’s basic view any different than Obama (and now Trump)?

Obama invented the Drone Kill List — he personally decided who was a terrorist and ordered their drone-execution based solely upon his “U.S. presidential authority” .
(hundreds of children/innocents killed in that drone-execution process were merely collateral damage by the sword of justice)

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Defining terrorism

Traditionally, prior to WWII, terrorism was all about weapons of terror, or acts of terror, which is to say indiscriminate attacks on civilians Terror weapons and attacks included:

~ WWI railway guns, artillery so massive that they had to be lugged by railroad. One had a range of seventy miles and was used to bombard Paris (and was barely accurate enough to hit Paris).

~ The Blitz, Germany’s aerial offensive on British towns and cities circa 1940-1941.

~ The subsequent usage of V1 buzzbombs (more than 9500 attacks) and V2 ballistic missiles (more than 3000 attacks) by the Germans, part of their Vergeltungswaffen (vengeance weapon) program.

~ Allied bombing of Dresden in WWII, American firebombing raids on Tokyo and Japan. Atomic weapon bombing raids on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

(Not a comprehensive list, obviously)

This categorizes many suicide-bomber attacks by militants in the Middle East as terror attacks, but it also categorizes US sanctioned raids during the War on Terror, and in Afghanistan, including almost all drone strikes as terror attacks.

This is also to say terror can either be a derisive buzzword we use to disparage the enemy, or it can be used to describe forms of warfare that are commonly used.

For now, though like WMDs in the aughts, it’s just become an insult. Something that you call someone to dismiss them pejoratively, meaning only I don’t like this guy.

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