I am not a Turkish affairs expert.
So lets start with things that I don’t know about these demonstrations. Chief among them is possible violence and law breaking by demonstrators. Did they unlawfully use violence against the police? did they break Turkish law in any way? I don’t know, but would like to find out.
What I do know more is that Erdogan has been gaining a reputation as a politician who more and more believes in “my way or the high way”. Yes he was democratically elected. Yes Turkey is a democracy. But what kind of democracy? Just because you are a democracy that does not mean that you can jail your own journalists because you don’t like what they are saying. But Erdogan does that. In case you didn’t know it:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey leads the world in jailing reporters and is engaged in “one of the biggest crackdowns on press freedom in recent history,” the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
Erdogan must be held to account for the excessive violence used against the demonstrators. First and foremost to the people of Turkey. And so do any protesters who used unlawful violence.
And this is bad for us in the region.
Why? I hear you ask.
Because Turkey is supposed to be an example of democracy in the region, and through his actions, Erdogan is setting the wrong example.
An example which says that despite the sacrifices for democracy which people have made, democratically elected leaders can still get away with clamping down against free speech by jailing journalists whose opinion they don’t like. They can use violence against protesters.
And this is anything but democratic. If anything, this is using democracy as a cover for what is essentially oppression and denial of the right to air grievances and criticisms.
Dear Mr Erdogan you need to change your ways.
And until you do, you have lost the right to lecture anyone else in this region about the need to treat other people with respect and dignity.
Start by practicing what you preach and spare me the lectures.
Just look at the video below. This is shameful, brutal behavior by your police against innocent bystanders in Izmir. Is this what you want to teach to the people of Gaza when you visit them in mid June?