Did Erdogan Order Prominent Turkish Lawyer’s Assassination?
by Stephen Lendman
Turkey under Erdogan is a fascist police state. Anyone criticizing regime policy risks harassment, arrest, indictment on phony charges, imprisonment or death. Fundamental freedoms don’t exist.
Prominent Turkish attorney/Kurdish rights supporter Tahir Elci headed southeastern Diyarbakir province’s bar association.
On Saturday, local hospital sources confirmed he died from gunshot wounds to his head, a clear indication he was assassinated. In October, he was detained for publicly saying the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) isn’t a terrorist organization - then released awaiting trial.
He faced imprisonment for speaking freely - the most fundamental right in all free and open societies without which all others are endangered.
Regime-controlled prosecutors accused him of spreading terrorist propaganda. He was killed while making a statement to the press.
Was it state-sponsored to silence him? Turkey is unsafe to live in for anyone criticizing regime policies. Opposing Erdogan’s agenda publicly is considered treason. Following Elci’s murder, protests erupted, attacked violently by police, continuing into the night as this is written.
Separately, Turkish police in Ankara pepper-sprayed supporters of wrongfully arrested journalists Can Dunbar and Erdem Gul for doing their jobs. Criticizing rogue regime policy subjects anyone to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.
About 1,000 protesters chanted: “Shoulder-to-shoulder against fascism.” Large crowds gathered near Dunbar’s Cumhuriyet Istanbul office in solidarity with both journalists. “Free press cannot be silenced,” they chanted.
Some accused Erdogan and complicit AKP officials of supporting ISIS terrorists. Clear evidence proves it.
Dunbar is Cumhuriyet editor-and-chief, Gul its Ankara bureau chief - both men arrested and imprisoned awaiting trial for publishing photographic evidence of Turkish intelligence smuggling heavy weapons to ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria.
They’re charged with treason and espionage for reporting important truths the whole world has a right to know. Not in police state Turkey, tolerating no opposition or exposure of state crimes.
Opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP) deputy Utki Calorpzer said “(j)ournalism is being put on trial with these arrests and the Turkish press is being intimidated.”
Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party co-chairwoman Figen Yuksekdag said “(a)ll opposition press organizations that are abiding by the ethics of journalism and trying to do their journalism are under threat and under attack.”
“This dark operation aimed at covering the crimes that those trucks carried and the crimes which are continuing to be committed will not be successful.”
Opposition lawmaker Baris Yarkadas said Erdogan “does not want any journalist to see what kind of a calamity (he created) for Turkey…”Cumhuriyet’s Friday headline read: “Black day for the press.”
Erdogan said both men would “pay a heavy price.” Arriving for his court appearance, Dundar spoke candidly, saying “(t)here is a crime that has been committed by the state that they are trying to cover up.”
“We are being charged with being spies. The president is saying that we are traitors to the state. We are not spies. We are not traitors. We are not heroes. We are journalists.”
Interviewed by RT International, Haberdar newspaper editor-in-chief Said Sefa said “(w)e as journalists can no longer investigate.”
According to opposition lawmaker Mehmet Ali Edeboglu, “(e)vents covered in the international media can be completely underreported in Turkey. The reason for that is a crackdown on journalism. If a media company criticizes the government it is seen as treason.”
A Final Comment
CNN interviewed Erdogan instead of refusing to give him airtime, letting him rant freely, including lying about the downed Russian aircraft entering Turkish airspace.
“(I)f there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us,” he blustered.” He vowed to down any Russian aircraft allegedly entering Turkish airspace - lunacy if he pulls this stunt again, unlikely with S-400 defense systems deployed, able to target and destroy any threat to Russian air or ground forces.
Erdogan vowed an automatic military response if Russia downs a Turkish aircraft in Syrian airspace. He recklessly ordered one once. Putin won’t tolerate a repeat incident.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.