Sunday, March 11, 2012

Where have you gone Mustafa Kemal Atatürk?

Go to any major college campus in the United States and you will find a group which is actively anti-Israel. Those same folks very often will wrap themselves in the flag of "peace." But how many colleges will you find with anyone who is anti-Turkey? Not too many, if any at all*.

Yet there are good reasons to dislike the Islamist regime in Turkey. Not only do they carry the stain of the ill-treatment of Turkish Kurds; and not only has the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made nicey-nice with various radical Sunni Islamists (including the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) while cutting ties with Israel; but Mr. Erdogan has made a habit of arresting anyone who publicly questions him.

A story in the New Yorker points out that Turkey now has the most imprisoned journalists of any country on earth--more than China or Russia or even Iran:
According to the Journalists Union of Turkey, ninety-four reporters are currently imprisoned for doing their jobs. More than half are members of the Kurdish minority, which has been seeking greater freedoms since the Turkish republic was founded, in 1923. Many counts of arrested journalists go higher; the Friends of Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, a group of reporters named for two imprisoned colleagues, has compiled a detailed list of a hundred and four journalists currently in prison there.

The arrests have created an extraordinary climate of fear among journalists in Turkey, or, for that matter, for anyone contemplating criticizing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. During my recent visit there, many Turkish reporters told me that their editors have told them not to criticize Erdogan. As I detail in my piece in the magazine this week, the arrests of journalists are part of a larger campaign by Erdogan to crush domestic opposition to his rule. Since 2007, more than seven hundred people have been arrested, including members of parliament, army officers, university rectors, the heads of aid organizations, and the owners of television networks.

You think a single "peace" group on an American campus will protest the abrogation of free speech rights in Turkey? You think any of them will send flotillas to Turkey's shores to try to bring attention to the plight of Erdogan's opponents?

*Perhaps there are a few organized Armenian-Americans upset (rightly so) that modern Turkey denies the World War 1 era genocide of roughly 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks.

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