Turkey Continues Its Attempt To Pass China In The 'Most Journalists Jailed' Category


Turkey continues to be awful. The President of the country, Recep “Gollum” Erdogan, continues to fight his own personal brand of “War on Terror.” So far, this “war” is mostly on critics and journalists, since actual terrorism isn’t something Erdogan seems to care about as much as his own reputation.

Critics located all over the world have felt the proxy wrath of the frequently-besmirched PM. Some countries have been especially obliging, turning over their own citizens to face criminal charges for insulting the Turkish head of state.

Journalists all over the world are feeling the heel of Erdogan’s boot, the size of which is inversely proportional to the thickness of his skin. Rather than limit his censorial efforts to the war at home, Erdogan frequently calls on US tech companies to engage in censorship on his behalf. Twitter is a favorite.

You’re nothing if you’re not on the leader boards. Erdogan sees himself as a living superlative. So it’s no surprise his government is seeking to overtake the Red Granddaddy of Censorship — China — in the category of “Most Journalist Jailed.” Presumably, the Guinness people will just mail him his award, rather than risk being swept up in his “War on Terror” for listing Nobel Prize winners or whatever.

More journalists have been convicted of crimes against Herr Erdogan. Unfortunately for the authoritarian, not too many of them will actually be jailed, which isn’t going to help him overtake China in the jailed journalist race. Prosecution in absentia is the new normal for Turkey since local journalists have realized staying in the country means forced retirement from their chosen profession.

Alert Interpol, I guess, as though that international partnership is really interested in converting itself into an extension of Turkey’s government. The “War on Terror” continues, with Turkish courts fighting the war at home by sentencing journalists self-exiling abroad.

A Turkish court on Friday convicted six journalists and one other employee of an independent newspaper of aiding the network of a U.S.-based cleric who is accused of masterminding the failed coup in 2016, the state-run news agency reported.

Conjecture and hearsay are kinds of evidence, the Turkish lawyers certainly argued. Some of those sentenced will actually be headed to jail post-appeal, since there’s no reason to believe this kangaroo courtship will be annulled upon further review.

Others will just spend their sentences not living in Turkey, as the supposed coup “mastermind” is doing.

[T]he primary target of Erdogan’s wrath is Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic scholar in his late 70s living in exile in the United States. Erdogan blames Gulen for masterminding the failed coup attempt. The government has declared Gulen’s movement a terrorist organization.

Jailing someone in their late-70s seems unusually cruel. (We do it here so stop throwing stones.) But it’s just not going to happen as long as Gulen lives in the United States. Anyone with any connection to Gulen is being branded a terrorist, even if most of them are just journalists who had nothing to do with the failed coup that has led directly to the jailing of over 100 journalists.

Criticizing Erdogan from abroad really doesn’t do much to diminish his power at home. But it does keep him busy. It keeps his courts tied up trying cases of suspects the government can never jail and it keeps the busybodies in the censorship department active filing social media complaints. Now, if only we (the US and its tech companies) weren’t so eager to help…

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Comments on “Turkey Continues Its Attempt To Pass China In The 'Most Journalists Jailed' Category”

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Why don't our governments complain about this more?

The reason is interesting…

You see, we’re beholden to them to absorb the ever-increasing number of Russia/West proxy war refugees from Syria, Yemen, and other countries whose enemies we are selling weapons to. All we have to do is stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and getting involved in Iraq, etc., but that’s not going to happen. Those wars won’t fight themselves. O, what a tangled web we weave…


Anonymous Coward says:

and he wants to be allowed to join the EU, where freedom is, supposedly, top priority (as long, at least, as it doesn’t interfere with anything the Entertainment Industries are trying to do, such as surveillance, arrest, jailing of citizens for copying, ruining families, putting people into the position that taking their own life is the only option, taking full control of the Internet and a myriad of other shit situations!) if it happens, it’ll be a bad day for the Planet, with WWIII on the near horizon!

Anonymous Coward says:

Jailing someone in their late-70s seems unusually cruel.

Why? And more to the point, what’s the alternative? If someone in their late 70s commits a crime, what should be done with them? (Not taking any position on Gulen specifically, but if the article is going to state this as a general principle, it needs to be able to back it up as a general principle.)

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