Thursday, March 03, 2016

Criticizing Turkey's Erdogan a Criminal Offense

Criticizing Turkey’s Erdogan a Criminal Offense

by Stephen Lendman

Turkey under Erdogan is a fascist police state. Criticizing him risks arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.

Exposing regime wrongdoing risks being charged with espionage and treason, longterm incarceration following near-rubber-stamp convictions.

Rare exceptions prove the rule. Since August 2014 elections elevated Erdogan from prime minister to president (formerly a ceremonial role), reign of terror governance followed.

He’s been systematically solidifying his grip on power, despotic rule by any standard - along with allying with Obama’s war on Syria, supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups against its sovereign independence, Assad’s overwhelmingly supported government.

He’s waging terror war against Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, falsely claiming a campaign against terrorism.

On March 2, Reuters quoted Turkish justice minister Bekir Bozdag, saying his “ministry has allowed 1,845 cases on charges of insulting Erdogan to go ahead.”

Ludicrously he added “I am unable to read the shameful results made against our president. I start to blush.”

Journalists and young children were among victims arrested and charged, facing up to four years imprisonment if convicted.

Press and social media comments are monitored. Two young boys face incarceration for tearing up Erdogan posters last October.

Former Turkish star footballer Hakan Sukur faces prison for Twitter comments interpreted as insults. He denied denigrating Erdogan.

Political criticism is a longstanding tradition. Police states forbid it, tolerating no dissent.

According to Reuters, a Turkish man last month “filed a criminal complaint against his wife for insulting Erdogan…the first known case where somebody faced legal action for comments made about (him) in the privacy of their home.”

Three Ege University students face imprisonment for posting a banner criticizing an increase in the price of tea, saying:

I'm buying a glass of tea for everyone, except for Tayyip,” Erdogan’s first name. It was a takeoff from a well-known earlier Turkish film titled Cicek Abbas.

The main character, Abbas, buys tea for everyone in a teahouse except for Sakir, both men not on good terms.

Last month, Turkish prosecutor Izzetin Namal filed criminal charges against the three Ege University students on charges of insulting the president - after a police officer reported the banner’s comment.

Article 299 of Turkey’s Penal Code (TCK) defines insulting the president as a crime punishable by one to four years in prison. If committed on a public platform like Facebook and Twitter, sentences can be increased sixfold. 

The law is mainly used to intimidate independent journalists, academics and other intellectuals - justifiably critical of Erdogan since his August 2014 election.

In January, he cited Hitler’s Germany as perhaps an ideal way to govern, streamlining decision-making, solidifying iron-fisted rule, eliminating challengers and critics.

He remains a valued US ally, a NATO member, partnering in Obama’s high crimes, targeting Syria for regime change.

Cessation of hostilities and upcoming peace talks changed nothing.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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