Sunday, March 06, 2016

Erdogan's Heavy Hand

Erdogan’s Heavy Hand

by Stephen Lendman

His high crimes are too grave to ignore. Washington and NATO partners turn a blind eye.

Turkey is a valued Alliance member, partnering with Washington’s war on Syria. It’s raging. Cessation of hostilities and so-called peace talks beginning later this week changed nothing.

Multiple ceasefire breaches occur daily, US-supported terrorists entirely responsible. Western sources largely blame Moscow and Damascus.

Turkish forces continue shelling cross-border on the phony pretext of protecting national security - attacking Kurdish YPG forces, supporting ISIS terrorists, supplying them with weapons and other material support, with full US support and encouragement. 

Western sources turn a blind eye - indifferent to Erdogan’s war on free expression. Weak-kneed criticism alone followed his takeover of Zaman and its English language Today’s Zaman edition - transforming the independent broadsheet into a pro-regime mouthpiece.

The Index on Censorship launched a petition, calling on Erdogan’s rubber-stamp Istanbul court to reverse its regime-supporting ruling, stating:

“Join Index on Censorship, writers, journalists and artists from around the world to condemn the shocking seizure of Turkish independent media group, Zaman.”

“Today Turkey seized one of the country's leading newspapers. In so doing, Turkey has confirmed that it is no longer committed to a free press, which is the bedrock of any democratic society.” 

“We, the undersigned, ask the court to reverse its decision to seize Zaman and urge the international community to speak out against Turkey's repeated attempts to stifle a free and independent media.”

Press freedom in Turkey is pure fantasy. Erdogan wants all regime criticism silenced. Dissent is a crime. Critics face prosecution and imprisonment.

Zaman’s takeover is the latest example of his crackdown on fundamental freedoms. The once proud independent broadsheet is now encircled with barbed wire, symbolic of police state control.

Zaman was under attack for months, things culminating on Friday. Media control is longstanding in Turkey. Erdogan took censorship to a new level, his ruthless tactic to silence critics and regime opponents.

US media gave Zaman’s takeover scant coverage. Most Americans know nothing about what happened. 

Western media impose self-censorship, propaganda substituting for truth and full disclosure on major issues, especially geopolitical ones relating to war, peace and US-led imperial rampaging.

The New York Times operates as a virtual ministry of state propaganda - militantly anti-Russian, supporting all US wars of aggression, currently highlighting Syria’s conflict.

It maintains the myth of so-called moderate rebels. None exist. All anti-government militants are terrorists.

On March 4, Times editors cited an undefined “rebel group,” saying Syrian forces, aided by Russia’s aerial campaign, “continue(s) its offensive” in the country’s northwest, “mobilizing forces elsewhere,” implying cessation of hostilities violations.

They quoted an unnamed US official, saying “(t)he regime…seem(s) to be looking to advance and move into opposition-controlled territory, which would be a very serious breach.”

Fact: No evidence indicates Syrian forces or Russian airstrikes violated cessation of hostilities terms.

Fact: Clear evidence indicates multiple opposition forces’ violations.

Fact: Anti-government terrorists hold all “opposition-controlled territory.”

Times editors bash Putin constantly. He’s “untrustworthy,” they said. “(T)he world must remain alert to his capacity for mischief.”

“His military intervention in the war five months ago rescued Mr. Assad’s embattled regime, and there are good reasons to worry that he will exploit the cease-fire to his advantage.”

In congressional testimony last week, NATO commander General Philip Breedlove called Russia America’s greatest strategic threat.

He shamelessly and recklessly accused Putin of “weaponizing” the human refugee flood “to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve.”

Washington wants war, not peace - Syrian sovereignty destroyed, the nation balkanized for easier control, an Israeli rival eliminated, Iran isolated.

Erdogan is a valued US imperial partner, his police state rule entirely ignored.

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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