Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Honoring An Erdogan Victim

Honoring An Erdogan Victim

by Stephen Lendman

Turkey is a US-supported fascist police state, Erdogan a world-class thug, a despot by any standard.

During June 2013 anti-regime protests, 15-year-old Berkin Elvan was struck on the head by a police tear gas canister while out buying bread for his family.

On March 11, 2014, he died following a 269 day coma. Thousands turned out for his funeral, accompanying his coffin through Istanbul.

Protesters shouted “Erdogan, killer.” “All against fascism.” “Berkin’s murderers are the AKP police,” referring to Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development party. 

In Berkin’s Okmeydani neighborhood, shopkeepers closed for the day in a show of respect and solidarity. 

His mother blamed Erdogan for what happened. He disgracefully called her son a “member of a terrorist organization” because of a simple scarf he wore.

Demonstrations were held throughout Turkey and in numerous Western cities.

Photojournalist Demir Sonmez’s picture of Berkin is on display in Geneva, Switzerland at its Place des Nations, the caption saying in English translation “My name is Berkin Elvan. The police killed me on order of the premier” - Erdogan at the time.

He demanded its removal. Vice Mayor Guillaume Barazzone responded, saying “Geneva will not allow any country to be influenced in this matter. Geneva and Switzerland stand for freedom of expression.”

“Therefore the administrative council will support this exhibition, and it is out of the question to remove the photograph.”

City spokesman Remy Pagani called it “absurd” to “censor” photography. “Freedom of expression is freedom of expression,” he stressed.

Photographer Sonmez said he was shocked but not surprised by Erdogan’s reaction - heading a rogue regime intolerant of free expression in all forms, attacking it beyond Turkey’s borders.

Nearly 2,000 Turkish nationals face prosecution, charged with insulting the president. Anyone challenging his iron-fisted rule or exposing regime wrongdoing risks imprisonment or  assassination.

On Tuesday, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders warned his country can’t guarantee the safety of its citizens traveling to Turkey if they’ve criticized its regime.

He blasted Erdogan, saying he “can’t treat the press and press freedom this way if (he) want(s) to be part of Europe.”

In March, he said “(d)emocracy, freedom and the rule of law…For us, these words have absolutely no value any longer.”

“Those who stand on our side in the fight against terrorism (sic) are our friends. Those on the opposite side are our enemies.”

Turkey allies with Washington and other rogue states in supporting ISIS and other regional terrorist groups. It’s waging war on Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi Kurds.

It’s a notorious human rights violator. Its regime threatens regional and world peace.

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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