Freedom Threatened In Turkey

For many years Turkey has been a hallmark of how a basically Muslim society can create a viable democracy in which those of differing religions and political viewpoints can live in peace and security. However, during the past several years, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has transformed the Justice and Development Party(AKP) into a mechanism to enforce his view as to what Turkish society should become. In the process, Turkey now leads the world in the number of journalists who are in prison for publishing the wrong ideas. The legislature just passed an Internet censorship law which allows the government to decide what can or cannot be sent via Internet. This follows a campaign to purge the police and judiciary of suspected subversives who are pursuing a campaign to uncover graft and corruption on the part of government officials. As far as Erdogan is concerned it is a plot from America by head of the Gulen movement which adheres to ideas of love and peace.

David Kramer, head of Freedom House in America told the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet that his NGO which fights for freedom of the press throughout the world, was in contact with President Abdullah Gul. Freedom House has urged him to veto the Internet bill and fight for an honest judiciary and freedom of the press. It is doubtful if any statement by President Obama would be helpful at this point in time. Erdogan would simply use it to inflame public opinion against “foreign interference” with Turkey.