Turkey is among the most confusing nations in the Middle East. It has a modern economic base, a well educated population, and a thriving economy. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is an intelligent leader who seeks to witness Turkey become a member of the European Union. However, a recent report from the European Commission condemns assaults on freedom of the press in his nation. A draft of the report states: “Open and free debate has continued and expanded. However, the prosecutions and convictions of journalists, writers, publishers and politicians for the expression of nonviolent opinions has continued.” There is scant doubt supporters for Kurdish rights encounter difficulty in expressing their ideas and all too often a speech in support for Kurdish rights is equated with supporting violent Kurdish elements.
It is time for Turkey to take its place as a leading democracy in the region. This means ending restrictions on discussing the Armenian genocide. The government has every right to refute statements about genocide, but it has no right to forbid scholars and others to claim such a genocide occurred. It is time for Kurds to be accorded their rights of free speech. Only then will Turkey become a bastion of freedom.