Turkish President Sues Dutch Lawmaker Over A Bunch Of 'Insulting' Tweets
from the who-is-the-real-terrorist-here,-Recep dept
If anyone’s to blame for this latest Erdogan related debacle, it’s the thin-skinned “leader” of Turkey, R.T. “Gollum” Erdogan. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to find anyone else to blame if the Dutch government hadn’t been an enabler of this bad behavior.
Back in 2018, the Dutch government, inexplicably, decided to prosecute one of its own citizens for “insulting” a world leader located in an entirely different country. For whatever reason, the Dutch government has yet to wipe its “insulting a foreign leader” law from its books and that’s the weapon Erdogan wielded to engage in extraterritorial protection of his easily bruised skin.
A law may be on the books, but there’s nothing compelling a country to enforce it, especially when the request comes from the Turkish consulate on behalf of an insulted foreign leader who, as the word “foreign” specifies, resides in another country altogether.
Having set this stupid precedent, the Dutch government has to take some of the blame for recent developments, which involve President Erdogan targeting a member of the Dutch government over some online besmirchment.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is suing Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders after the anti-Islam politician posted a series of tweets against the Turkish leader, including one that described him as a “terrorist.”
The state-run Anadolu Agency said Erdogan’s lawyer on Tuesday filed a criminal complaint against Wilders at the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s office for “insulting the president” — a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in prison.
Wilders posted a cartoon depicting Erdogan wearing a bomb-resembling hat on his head, with the comment: “terrorist.”
Fortunately, at least one person is handling this latest Turkish broadside against free speech with all the respect it deserves.
Wilders, who leads the largest opposition party in the Dutch Parliament, shrugged off the Turkish criminal complaint and described Erdogan as a “loser.”
This is not to say Wilders is an upstanding individual without troubling views on foreigners and religions other than his own. But the insulted leader of a foreign country shouldn’t be able to do anything more than complain about it like normal people complain about things: to anyone willing to listen to someone complain about stuff. Involving courts and foreign governments shouldn’t be part of the equation. There’s no defamation here and nothing credibly, legally actionable. It’s just Erdogan being insulted, which is something that happens regularly.
If the Dutch government doesn’t meet this with a strong “why don’t you just go fuck yourself” statement, it will only encourage Erdogan to engage in more extraterritorial litigation over speech he doesn’t like. That’s something no one needs, especially now that Turkey has passed China in the number of journalists jailed and has prosecuted more than 29,000 people in the last half-decade for “insulting” the eminently insultable president.