Protests Flare Up Again in Turkey

We had to laugh when reading the headline Growing authoritarianism in Turkey faces minor repercussions abroad” – this is precisely what we mentioned in our recent update on emerging markets. Our words with regard to the increasingly draconian and authoritarian legislation implemented in Turkey were:

 

“The vaunted 'defenders of freedom' in the West probably aren't going to object for even a millisecond.”

 

(emphasis added)

Obviously that was a case of 'right the first time'.

 

While the Turkish government is turning into a more authoritarian regime by limiting freedom of expression, controlling the judiciary, tightening its grip on power and controlling the media, it appears that Turkey is managing to maintain a “business as usual” relationship with the US and European countries without any repercussions, as long as Turkey protects the interests of Western powers in the region.

Diplomatic sources and experts who closely follow Turkish-American relations and Turkey's accession process to the European Union agree that recent important steps by the Turkish government, such as satisfying Western powers on the Cyprus issue and normalizing ties with Israel, are helping to keep potential criticisms from the US government and other Western countries at bay regarding problematic issues on democracy and freedom in Turkey.”

 

(emphasis added)

In light of this we wonder if there are many Ukrainian protesters naïve enough to believe that the US and the EU supported them out of their 'love of freedom' or any such sappy reasons. If Yanukovich had opened the door a crack for the 'security arrangements' the EU wanted him to sign, it is likely that no-one would have batted an eyelid at his police forces mowing down demonstrators. Sure, there would have been a few expressions of pseudo-concern, but that would probably have been all. After all, he was the 'elected president' of the Ukraine, and as such it is his duty to protect the State!

If you think we are cynical about our rulers, keep in mind that their cynicism is orders of magnitude greater. Ever notice that no matter which place gets a visit by Mr McCain, the blood soon flows a lot more copiously there? Surely it is just a coincidence, so we can only take note of the fact that the coincidence exists. He is incidentally also the greatest shill on behalf of the military-industrial complex in the Senate. But what has that got to do with anything, right?

Meanwhile, Turkey's citizens seem far more concerned about the measures taken by Erdogan, as they are out protesting again, even if the Western media are remarkably restrained in their reportage on the latest riots (this is to say, they don't report all that much about them). If it weren't so sad, it would be lough-out-loud funny what Orwellian language Erdogan employs to defend his latest endeavors to suppress dissent:

 

Turkish riot police have fired water cannon and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators marching in Istanbul in protest at new laws tightening government control of the internet. Demonstrators threw fireworks and stones at police cordoning off Taksim Square, the city's main square.

The president is under pressure not to ratify the legislation. It includes powers allowing authorities to block websites for privacy violations without a court decision.

The opposition says it is part of a government attempt to stifle a corruption scandal. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denied accusations of censorship, saying the legislation would make the internet "more safe and free".

 

(emphasis added)

Well, there you have it – Turkey's internet is now 'more safe and free!' Two birds with one stone, so to speak! What could be better?

Evidently, there are not trade-offs between liberty and security in Erdogan's Turkey – which is true luxury miracle if we may say so. One probably shouldn't adopt too wide an interpretation of 'security' in this case, as it is mainly the government that is secured against the mean sullying of its reputation by people accusing it of graft.

 


 

2013-06-03-basbakan_erdogan

Turkey's prime minister Erdogan: I shall set you free busters! Yeah, internet freedumb for all! And security! Now new, with double-plus-good!

(Photo via dipnot.tv / Author unknown)

 


 

 

 

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