Turkish President Visits UK To Remind Everyone He Still Wants To Punish Critical Speech

from the UK-speech-laws-really-don't-need-to-be-any-worse dept

I'm not sure why any nation with at least a passing respect for civil liberties would continue treating Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a world leader worth discussing ideas with. Erdogan rolled into the United States with his entourage of thugs and thought he could have critics beaten and unfriendly journalists tossed from press conferences. He continually petitions other countries to punish their own citizens for insulting him.

Back at home, Erdogan is jailing journalists by the hundreds, claiming they're terrorists. A failed coup set off the latest wave of censorial thuggery, with Erdogan bolstering his terrorist claims by pointing to criminal acts like… robbing ATMs. A massive backlog of "insulting the president" cases sit in the country's court system -- a system that's certainly aware it's not supposed to act as a check against executive power.

And yet, world leaders continue to act as though Erdogan is an equal, rather than an overachieving street thug with an amazingly fragile ego. UK Prime Minister Theresa May, hoping to strike a trade deal with Turkey, invited Erdogan to not only discuss a possible deal, but speak publicly.

May tried to keep Erdogan from being Erdogan

May said that while it was right that those who sought to overthrow a democratically elected government were brought to justice, “it is also important that in the defence of democracy… Turkey does not lose sight of the values it is seeking to defend”.

May added: “That is why today I have underlined to President Erdoğan that we want to see democratic values and international human rights obligations upheld.”

But Erdogan was always going to be Erdogan:

At a press conference in Downing Street alongside May, Erdoğan made no reference to May’s remarks about human rights, but instead urged her to do more to extradite Turkish exiles from the Gulenist or Kurdish movements, saying that if she did not act act against terrorists, it would come back to bite her.

And went on to make it clear that by "terrorists," he also meant journalists who may or may not have been caught engaging in burglary, but otherwise can be assumed to be political targets jailed to ensure silence.

You can't keep treating an overgrown child like an adult. No one should be doing business with Turkey until it cleans up its civil rights violation record. And that's not going to happen as long as Erdogan is president. Gently nudging him towards not being a completely evil asshole obviously doesn't work. All it does is make the government's hosting his off-the-cuff remarks on censorship and jailing journalists look like enablers of oppression.


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 May 2018 @ 7:25pm

    Gollum speaks again...

    ...and the only rant he failed to emit was about the ring.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2018 @ 8:07pm

    A week during which Israel MASSACRED SCORES, and Erdogan

    condemns that massacre, but Techdirt will never mention it!

    Your true level of humanity is shown in what you OMIT, you lying little netwit.

    Running this just days after an unequivocal massacre is a new low even for Techdirt.

    Here's part of a piece written by someone with conscience, not relentless agenda:

    After the Gaza massacre, how can Jews sleep well at night?

    Can we really? In our name, horrors are committed, supposedly so that we would be able to "sleep well at night". To have a "safe haven", while others are uprooted from their homes, maimed and killed for protesting the injustice.

    We constantly downplay this horror, because looking it in the eye means not only scrutinizing Israeli policy, but its very existence as a "Jewish state". It means to scrutinize Zionism, and so few want to do that.

    This is really what is looking at us through the fences at the Great March of Return. Sure, many want to frame it as "terrorist", not because of the actions, but because of the notion - the notion of "return" is for Zionists synonymous with "destruction" and "denial of our right to exist" - as a "Jewish state", that is.


    Some headlines:

    UN to investigate possible Israeli war crimes after Gaza massacre

    How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren't People?

    Debunking 18 claims justifying this week's Gaza massacre

    Jewish Americans Condemn US Gov. Support for Israel's Massacre of Gazans

    Supporters desert Labour Friends of Israel

    "Killing Gaza" captures culture of resistance

    Listen: "Clearly marked" Gaza medics shot by Israeli snipers

    Arab League demands international probe into Israeli 'crimes'

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

  • identicon
    Theresa May, 18 May 2018 @ 8:56pm

    We too!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2018 @ 10:33pm

    Isn't it obvious, Tim?

    Erdogan is dismantling freedom of thought and conscience, turning Turkey into an iron-fisted dictatorship, and imprisoning or destroying its best minds. In the not-so-very long run, Turkey will be made MUCH weaker by this jumped-up bully, and the rest of the world a lot safer.

    And think of the economy. Western armies will not have to fire a shot, and Turkey can be kept out of the EU. Erdogan and his lackeys will have done the job for our politicians and soldiers.

    Çok yaşa Erdogan!

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 18 May 2018 @ 10:38pm

    Erdogan

    He should be honored that we care enough about him to mock him. More than he deserves.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2018 @ 9:17am

      Re: Erdogan

      "Erdogan is dismantling freedom of thought and conscience, turning Turkey into an iron-fisted dictatorship, and imprisoning or destroying its best minds."

      And this is why he is one of trump's biggest heros.

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

  • identicon
    David, 19 May 2018 @ 1:02am

    There is your mistake right here:

    I'm not sure why any nation with at least a passing respect for civil liberties

    For how long have you been hiding under that rock of yours?

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

  • identicon
    David, 19 May 2018 @ 1:45am

    You know that last paragraph of yours?

    You can't keep treating an overgrown child like an adult. No one should be doing business with Turkey until it cleans up its civil rights violation record. And that's not going to happen as long as Erdogan is president. Gently nudging him towards not being a completely evil asshole obviously doesn't work. All it does is make the government's hosting his off-the-cuff remarks on censorship and jailing journalists look like enablers of oppression.

    Are we still talking about Turkey here? Because that sure looks like a fitting shoe not just for Erdogan.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2018 @ 11:32am

    i'm just waiting to read that they've let 'Adolf' Erdogan and Turkey into the EU! he wants to take control of the whole area, just like the guy who wanted to in 1939-45!

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

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 19 May 2018 @ 12:24pm

    Move "Mars Attacks" Congress speech to Parliament.

    Does anyone remember the comedy film "Mars Attacks", where the Martian addresses a joint session of Congress (and vaporizes the lot of them)? Perhaps, in honor of this visit, someone could do Gollum addressing the House of Commons...

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 19 May 2018 @ 10:31pm

    Errordogan

    Oh Erdogan, you little Golem, what a Turkey you are. Smile in the knowledge that your ego is an illusion. Please stop killing people because you have a small penis.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2018 @ 12:12am

    We need Turkish SNL

    I often wonder what the citizens of countries like this actually think. We all know the things that they are forced to say in public by way of self-preservation, but how do the actually feel? At least here in America we are allowed to make fun of our political leaders by way of cartoons, skits, social media, entire news networks, radio... pretty much every way imaginable. We certainly own a treasure trove of material already but how about we expand our horizons?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2018 @ 7:14am

      Re: We need Turkish SNL

      Cherish it while it lasts, because some powerful influences are continuously chipping away at the roots of society.

      They probably think the same things everyone being subjected to such abuse thinks.

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 20 May 2018 @ 9:04am

    You'd think Erdogan would be smarter...

    You'd think Erdogan would be smarter than this. He's seen what happens to leaders that out-live their usefulness to the western world: we invade.
    The US decided Noriega of Panama was a drug dealer, so we invaded. Yet years earlier, he was a friend of the CIA.
    The US decided Sadam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, so we invaded. Yet years earlier, he was a friend against Iran.

    So how long will it be until the western countries decide Turkey is too valuable to be in the hands of Erdogan?

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

    • identicon
      David, 20 May 2018 @ 9:29am

      Re: You'd think Erdogan would be smarter...

      Don't forget that Osama bin Laden had been trained in a CIA training camp.

      The US is sowing a lot of stuff. Sometimes the harvest turns out pretty ugly and is then purged with fire.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 May 2018 @ 12:53pm

      Re: You'd think Erdogan would be smarter...

      I imagine he believes himself to be rather safe from US attention given how much Trump loves the guy.

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

  • identicon
    anonymous dutch coward, 20 May 2018 @ 6:31pm

    one word: Syria

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

  • icon
    maymiennamdn (profile), 20 May 2018 @ 11:52pm

    Turkish President Visits UK To Remind Everyone He Still Wants To

    ...and the only rant he failed to emit was about the ring.

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

  • icon
    thomasmith1995 (profile), 21 May 2018 @ 3:54pm

    UK visit

    Why he has been there?

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

  • identicon
    Boris Johnson, 21 May 2018 @ 8:48pm

    Trapped

    Poor Theresa May is being propelled by the Brexit fans' fiction that a world of free trade deals awaits once the UK is loosed from the shackles of the EU. As a result she has to cosy up to all kinds of unsavoury characters, from Trump to Erdogan.

    Did you know I wrote a (bad) limerick about Erdogan?

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


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