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Opinion: Turkey vs The USA 2015: Game of Votes

Obama-US-Turkey-Nucle_Horo-e1368726239951On June 7th 2015, Turkey will hold a general election. Recep Tayyip Erdogan as president is meant to be above party politics, but his desperation for his ‘ex’-party the AKP to retain power yet again is palpable, especially with some polls putting their support in this election as low as 40%.

With the economy uncertain, corruption scandals, freedom of the non Erdogan-owned press non-existent, and memories of the Soma mining disaster and Gezi Park protests still bitter, the president chose the month before the elections to launch a multiple broadside against the New York Times – for essentially stating facts as it sees them.

Reggie likes his own version of the facts, you see. Whether it’s over whose religion is better or who ‘discovered’ America first (would that not be the Native Americans?), RTE cannot tolerate criticism or factual objectivity. It’s his way or the highway; first it was the Kemalists, then the EU, now it’s the turn of the New York Times to witness bewildered his inverted arrogance.

Democracy – in its truest sense – is predicated on the majority looking after the rights of the minority. With this version of democracy as ‘a train you get off when you reach the destination’, winning is everything, whether by coercion, money, bullying, hubris or simple intimidation.

saltThe anti-Islam movement in the west is now at fever-pitch, and its debates rumble on ominously as increasing numbers of countries tighten up their security and freedom of speech laws. This almost looks like some kind of victory to RTE and the AKP, as with increasing chippy paranoia they lash out at anyone but themselves in some kind of bizarre self-justification.

What are they trying to justify? Greed, a bubble economy ill-begotten by previously exposed corruption and ruthless, pious ambition. Who is left to objectify this when the army top brass and so many other professors and journalists are in prison? The western press, of course.

Erdogan’s front cover of Time magazine isn’t that distant a memory for most, but his once, US co-opted ‘moderate Islam’ stance is. The Republic of Turkey, once proudly secular though 98% muslim, and despite its manifold problems, is now Neo-Ottoman Turkey, the desperate cries of a population having its freedoms stripped away one by one clear to see. The press too cowed and justifiably scared to do anything at home? Time to turn on the outside world, and – whatever the west’s other issues – its free press.

Sean Bw Parker

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