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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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 12:18pm

    ...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...

    That incident was repeated yesterday at his speech in in New York.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 12:19pm

    Gollum on steroids.

    Obligatory comparison.

    Why on steroids? Because at least Gollum only 'constituents' were himself and his evil was limited to a few small people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 12:26pm

    Definition of terrorist

    "A person, group, or organization that uses violent action, or the threat of violent action, to further political goals." Is there really some controversy about this definition? Erdogan is just lying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 1:39pm

      Re: Definition of terrorist

      "A person, group, or organization that uses violent action, or the threat of violent action, to further political goals."

      You mean like the US?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Coyne Tibbets (profile), 24 Sep 2017 @ 4:36am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 22 Sep 2017 @ 12:37pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Daydream, 22 Sep 2017 @ 1:36pm

      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~

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 3:01pm

        Re: Quibble!

        The type of "PIN" is EASILY determined through context. I've never had anyone tell me to "enter your PIN" and had to ask them to clarify what kind of PIN they were talking about.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 3:51pm

      Re: crimes against humanity

      'ATM machine' is the same as saying 'automated teller machine machine.'

      What, did you think ATMs were assembled by hand?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ShadowNinja (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 12:39pm

    Seems to be like an elected leader who's pushing their country closer and closer in the direction of a dictatorship is more of a terrorist then reporters reporting on said elected leader.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 12:43pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      "but keep one foot in the realm of reality."

      ... and here is where most megalomaniacs fail.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 1:03pm

      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)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 1:34pm

      Re:

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

      Once you take one step into unreality, it does not matter if your last 100 were in reality.

      The blackest of lies are made from the truth.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 12:45pm

    Since the Gollum thing's already been done twice

    (once in the article, once in the comments)...

    I think I'll just link to a poem by Jan Böhmermann (or, rather, the translation by David Meyer Lindenberg):

    Link.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 22 Sep 2017 @ 1:31pm

    FOIA Terrorists, Anyone?

    (Words from our very own US government!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 1:47pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 22 Sep 2017 @ 2:59pm

    "failed coup"

    Please stop referring to this as a failed coup. It succeeded. The issue is that the coup was planned by Erdogan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 4:45pm

      Re: "failed coup"

      That's what I gathered from the news also, and then he goes around acting all righteous when the opposition is rounded up and put in chains.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:53pm

    Isn't it ironic?

    Alanis Morissette should add this to her song. It would probably be the only ironic thing in it...

    Oh, the irony!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2017 @ 8:28am

    If only karma bombs were real...

    Clearly, the man needs an act of god to set him straight, like say.. a meteorite destroying any currently uninhabited dwellings of his, or a localized lightning so percise, it could double as a mil spec emp.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2017 @ 6:18am

    The United States government treats journalists and whistleblowers as terrorists. Erdogan is just following the trend.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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