Dutch Government Prosecuting Dutch Citizen For Insulting Turkish President Recep Erdogan

from the way-to-suck-up-to-a-complete-POS dept

Turkey's president Recep Erdogan is the pettiest of tyrants, ruling with an iron fist and an easily-bruised ego. In addition to snuffing out dissent in his own country with a combination of arrests and intimidation, Erdogan and his government scour the planet for non-Turkish citizens who have offended Lord Gollum.

This doesn't just take the form of content removal requests and site blocking. It also means actual arrests of foreign citizens residing in other countries. Germany's government was shocked to find an old law on its books -- one that forbade insulting foreign states -- being used against one of its own, a German comedian who wrote an immensely unflattering poem about the Turkish dictator. The government gave in at first before swiftly excising the law.

The same can't be said about the Netherlands, another country with bad laws Erdogan is more than happy to exploit to silence criticism. This makes things a little easier for the Turkish government. The last time it punished a Dutch citizen for criticizing the Turkish president, it had to wait for the journalist to visit the country before arresting her.

This time the Dutch government is going to be doing the punishing. Erdogan has spoken and, rather than being greeted with laughter followed by a dial tone, the Dutch government appears to be moving forward with a local prosecution.

A 64-year-old man from Sittard in the Netherlands will face prosecution for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a series of offensive e-mails he sent to the Turkish Embassy back in 2016.

In the e-mails, he compared Erdoğan to Adolf Hitler and also attached a photo of the Turkish president in Nazi uniforms, according to the BBC.

Erdogan knows the laws of foreign countries at least as well as he knows his own. He's found another "insulting a friendly foreign head of state" law on the books in the Netherlands and has successfully demanded punishment for this violation of a foreign law by a foreign citizen.

This is an unacceptable turn of events. Just because the law is on the books doesn't mean Dutch prosecutors have to actually prosecute anyone. Laws are broken every day, and even those incidents that law enforcement witness don't always result in charges. For this person, there's the possibility of a 6-8 month jail sentence for comparing Erdogan to Hitler, which isn't that much of a stretch.

This bad law remains on the books for now. An effort to repeal it stalled, but hopefully the government's disgraceful bootlicking of a "friendly" foreign head of state will result in enough outrage the law will be stricken before it does any more damage.

Filed Under: free speech, gollum, insults, jurisdiction, netherlands, recep tayyip erdogan, turkey


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 2:21am

    An entire government of spineless cowards, almost impressive

    What's sadder than a tin-pot dictator throwing tantrums?

    Foreign governments doing their bidding and cracking down on their own citizens for saying mean things about said dictator.

    This bad law remains on the books for now. An effort to repeal it stalled, but hopefully the government's disgraceful bootlicking of a "friendly" foreign head of state will result in enough outrage the law will be stricken before it does any more damage.

    They had the energy and drive to arrest and charge the man, yet they found themselves lacking in both when it came to repealing the monumentally stupid Lèse-majesté law that the joke in Turkey used to demand that they go after one of their own citizens. Really shows the priorities in play there.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:14am

      Re: An entire government of spineless cowards, almost impressive

      What's sadder than a tin-pot dictator throwing tantrums?

      The so called leader of the free world throwing tantrums because his ex aides have been found guilty of breaking the law.

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

      • identicon
        neversink, 18 Sep 2018 @ 8:18am

        Re: Re: An entire government of spineless cowards, almost impressive

        But you can criticize the leader of the free world any way you want and you won't get arrested..... You have your logic upside down...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 3:38am

    well first off

    Turkey's president Recep Erdogan is the pettiest of tyrants

    Please don't say things like that. Other ... people will take it as a challange

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 4:12am

    Found a flaw in that plan right off the bat

    "insulting a friendly foreign head of state"

    (emphasis mine)

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 6:36am

      Re: Found a flaw in that plan right off the bat

      Sometimes, in international relations, friendly just means you are not at war with the other entity. Yet.

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

  • identicon
    Daydream, 22 Aug 2018 @ 5:49am

    Does this Erdogan actually do anything?

    Like, does he actually have a job? Does he actually have legislative/executive responsibilities? Or is he just a loony who hired some hackers to make him president?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:09am

      Re: Does this Erdogan actually do anything?

      Is being a tin pot dictator considered a job, idk.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:15am

      Re: Does this Erdogan actually do anything?

      His job is to recover the precious, before the tricksy false journalists and soldiers take it from him. Gollum...Gollum.

      He hates them, he hates them forever.

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

  • icon
    a swiss guy (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 5:55am

    And in another case?

    Overall I agree with this post. That's also goes for the fact that "Laws are broken every day, and even those incidents that law enforcement witness don't always result in charges."

    But if it were another case? Still agree with "Just because the law is on the books doesn't mean Dutch prosecutors have to actually prosecute anyone."
    Well, is that a call for more 'banana republics' or 'law at your discretion'?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:11am

      Re: And in another case?

      Not sure Turkey is "friendly" and therefore application of law maybe inappropriate?

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

      • icon
        a swiss guy (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 4:39am

        Re: Re: And in another case?

        Friendly? Well, both countries are allies in NATO.

        My point was more like: Do we really expect countries to only apply their laws when it suits the current 'state of friendship' or 'who is currently in charge' or (add your distinction)?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 7:47am

          Re: Re: Re: And in another case?

          I do not think that other countries getting their panties in a twist is any concern of mine and I do not self censor in efforts to console butt hurt dictators.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 5:58am

    As a Dutchman, I'm embarrassed Hitler-wannabe Erdogan is still considered a friendly head of state. (and insulting one should be free speech)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 6:19am

    Nations are a reflection of its people.

    *sitting back and waiting for the butt hurt to arrive*

    God says it,
    Obama says it,
    de Maistre said it though knobs try to say it was out of context.
    Founding fathers says it,
    and anyone with wisdom knows it!

    One way or another, great thinkers and leaders across time and space have said this... but many losers here do not get it and get but hurt when they read truth!

    If the Dutch do not want to be petty dictator abused cowards they will spine the fuck up and tell Erdogan to fuck off!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:12am

      Re:

      Nations are a reflection of its wealthy people.

      ftfy

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:26am

        Re: Re:

        Wrong, you just hyper-focus on the wealthy because what they do has been decided to be more newsworthy than what you do.

        The impact people have over their nation is not according to levels of wealth. There are many poor people rocketed to fame when they decide to finally make an impact that catches the attention of those hyper-focused on the wealthy.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:37am

          The impact people have over their nation is not according to levels of wealth.

          Tell that to lobbyists, GOP superdonors, and Amazon employees who have to piss in bottles so they won’t be fired.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:50am

            Re:

            The problem stems from the poor choosing to remain weak. I did not say that wealth is not involved, I said does not go according to levels of wealth. There are a lot of rich folks for and against all sorts of things around the world. It is ridiculous to quantify everything with just money.

            At the end of the day... all work and effort comes at the hands of warm bodies.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:07am

              The problem stems from the poor choosing to remain weak.

              You have never been poor, have you?

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:17am

                Re:

                Born from a poor family where I had no food for days at a time. Luckily I never had to face any serious disease like some others have had to face, like those in Africa for example. The "poor" in America are RICH by this standard but you will not see them accepting that.

                The poor spend far too much time whining about the rich they "work for" and "idolize" and "give money too" for their entertainment. They would better spend their time increasing their knowledge and understanding of Life, Government, and Human nature.

                Instead they much prefer to blame things on anything other than themselves.

                I grew up hungry poor, and when other people had advice for me I asked them... if you had such GREAT advice... why are you poor as well?

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:37am

                  They would better spend their time increasing their knowledge and understanding of Life, Government, and Human nature.

                  And when are poor people supposed to do that: When they’re asleep, when they have a few minutes between jobs, or when they’re trying to figure out whether buying groceries is more important than paying the electric bill?

                  why are you poor as well?

                  Increases in the cost of living combined with stagnant wages for low-level workers, a lack of job opportunities, and little-to-no access to things like public transportation or social support programs such as SNAP. I mean, just a hunch.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:51am

                    Re:

                    Like I said... they have more than enough excuses to blame anything else but themselves.

                    Let me tell you from direct experience, that I felt helpless when I poor as well. Yes I was actually stupid enough then to think that some rich asshole was responsible for my disposition. And then... I realized one day that what I did have a lot of was advice. Advice from poor people telling me how to live life. If they have so much time to pull over and give me bad advice that did not help me out in life, perhaps they should stop telling everyone else what to do and go do for themselves instead.

                    It's like Chris Rock once said...

                    “I’d always end up broken down on the highway. When I stood there trying to flag someone down, nobody stopped. But when I pushed my own car, other drivers would get out and push with me. If you want help, help yourself – people like to see that.”
                    — Chris Rock

                    The poor just break down and bitch when a rich person does not stop to help them. There are more poor than rich, how are these rich folks able to grab such a hold on them?

                    Because the poor let them, that is why! It is just easier for them to be ruled over than to rule themselves. The poor will always be with us for that, and they will deserve to remain poor for it as well!

                    I am no longer poor, so if it makes you feel better you can bitch at a non-poor person if you like, I am not in the 1% yet, but I expect to be when I die. I am also going to do my best to do it without abusing the poor either. In fact many are going to abuse themselves and each other before I even have a chance too do it myself.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:52am

                  Re: Re:

                  "Born from a poor family where I had no food for days at a time."

                  I doubt that.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:53am

              Re: Re:

              "The problem stems from the poor choosing to remain weak"

              Bullshit

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:13pm

              Re: Re:

              I did not say that wealth is not involved, I said does not go according to levels of wealth

              Apparently you have no idea what lobbying is.

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

        • identicon
          Temporarily Frustrated Millionaire, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "you just hyper-focus on the wealthy because what they do has been decided to be more newsworthy than what you do."

          LOL - wut? This makes no sense.


          "The impact people have over their nation is not according to levels of wealth."

          How ignorant .. or maybe trollish.


          "There are many poor people rocketed to fame when they decide to finally ... "

          Which means that they are wealthy - Doh!
          (some of these types retain their sanity, others not)

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 22 Aug 2018 @ 6:36am

    So sad

    Erdogan can't let go of his Precious ego.

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

  • identicon
    bshock, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:40am

    Dear Turkey:

    Your country is being run by an insane, homicidal, cowardly dictator.

    Okay, I grant you that my country isn't far behind in this regard -- our orange Russia-puppet is still trying to figure out what the word "homicidal" means.

    But still, go ahead and prosecute me for my opinions, you hapless dupes.

    Love, a foreign national over whom you have no right to level any charges whatsoever.

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

  • icon
    Vic B (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:59am

    If I recall correctly, the Dutch government didn't stand up to Hitler either.

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

    • icon
      Narcissus (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:12am

      Re:

      You recall wrongly.

      It is true that we were conquered in a matter of days, mainly because we had very little and very outdated weaponry. I've been told bi-planes don't fare well against Messerschmitts. We were tryng to be neutral in the conflict, true, but Hitler didn't care about that much.

      However, after the surrender the Dutch government in exile in London has worked tirelessly to liberate the country again.

      So, perhaps you should read your history again?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:14am

    | The last time it punished a Dutch citizen for criticizing the Turkish president, it had to wait for the journalist to visit the country before arresting her.

    Fortunately Turkey is now a dangerous totalitarian hellhole where tourists get raped and murdered even in once-popular coastal resorts, so tourism has dropped to almost zero.

    Meaning this journalist wouldnt want/need to go to Turkey regardless.

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

  • identicon
    Matthew A. Sawtell, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:17am

    Maybe the DNC can help Erdogan here the in U.S.?

    https://www.infowars.com/senator-ron-wyden-demands-consequences-for-platforms-that-dont-remove-peopl e-like-alex-jones/

    Quote:

    “What I’m gonna be trying to do in my legislation is to really lay out what the consequences are when somebody who is a bad actor, somebody who really doesn’t meet the decency principles that reflect our values, if that bad actor blows by the bounds of common decency, I think you gotta have a way to make sure that stuff is taken down,” he added.

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

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:15pm

    Breve Or Caron?

    Is it spelt “Erdoǧan” or “Erdoğan”?

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

  • icon
    Narcissus (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:03am

    Just a small correction

    The law mentioned above isn't "stalled". It's just in the legislative process.

    It has been approved by the "Tweede Kamer" (very loosely comparable to Congress) and still needs to be approved by the "Eerste Kamer" (Senate, although the differences between the Dutch system and the US system are bigger than the similarities).

    The problem here is not so much the foreign heads of state but rather our own. The change would also make the King fair game. Some conservative Christian parties are a bit worried about that.

    Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about the guy. I would be surprised if he got more than a slap on the wrist, even if he was convicted. The maximum punishment looks scary but Dutch judges have wide discretion in setting punishments and I think the harshest they would go in this case will be a fine of a few hundred Euros.

    Still, not good the Dutch government collaborates with the Turkish government in this.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 5:37am

      Anyone who claims immunity from mockery deserves nothing but

      The problem here is not so much the foreign heads of state but rather our own. The change would also make the King fair game. Some conservative Christian parties are a bit worried about that.

      That sounds like stalled to me, and for a really stupid reason as well.

      'We can't change the law to prevent a tin-pot dictator going after someone for saying mean things about him, people might start saying mean things about our fragile head(s) of state too!'

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


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