No doubt about it, Islamofascism is now the governing ideological rule in the Turkish state, which is also a NATO member.
And now Erdogan is demanding visa free travel for Turks into the EU via an agreement, previously reached, provided that Turkey meet 72 requirements. It has fallen short on five, one of which, was that terrorists laws could not be used against journalists or dissenting academics.
The following articles show that Erdogan has no intention of changing the law and/or its applications has so stated.
Gatestone Institute: Erdogan's Thin-Skinned Government:
In March, a court placed the newspaper Zaman in the control of state administrators, with no clear reason given, arguably breaching Article Three of the European Convention of Human Rights:
"2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:Zaman has apparently never received information of the charges against it, or the reason for the court order placing its activities and infrastructure under state control -- moves breaching further sections of Article 3, which specify the right to be able to "construct a defence". Without knowing what charges it faces, Zaman is unable to do that.
"(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;"
In addition, Turkey's World Press Freedom Index ranking has plummeted to 149 out of 180: below Zimbabwe (131) and Burundi (145).
Turkey also continues to imprison possibly the highest number of journalists of any nation -- according the Committee to Protect Journalists, the assessed number is 14 out of 199, worldwide. Other sources claim the number is closer to 30, and still others suggest that Turkey has had the greatest number of incarcerated journalists globally.
Whatever the true number, it is shameful that a NATO member, pledged to uphold the values of democracy as a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), ranks among some of the worst abusers of press freedom, including Iran, China and Saudi Arabia.
The Turkish government led by Erdogan seems to be undergoing a public transformation into an increasingly totalitarian state. Turkey has been abandoning the pro-Western principles of Kemalism and pivoting, with a more oppressive and expansionist outlook, toward Ottoman Islam.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was willing and overtly "proud' to show solidarity with the massacred Charlie Hebdo satirists in Paris by joining the Marche Republicaine against those who would attack freedom of speech. At home, however, Davutoglu pursues a domestic agenda that not only infringes upon media freedom, but also on the freedoms of individual citizens in fundamental breaches of ECHR legislation. Davutoglu, for example, has suggested women being equal to men causes suicides.
Turkey has also attempted, during Erdogan's period of governance, to ban both Twitter -- for "incit[ing] political dissent" -- and YouTube -- for "promot[ing] the act of religious defamation (article 216)." Erdogan blocked Twitter during responses to terror attacks and public protests, and attempted to quell any protest against his government.
Under the pretense of "counter terrorism," Erdogan has repeatedly been attempting to strangle the channels of discussion and the organizing of protests.
In any state claiming that protests are linked to terrorism and blasphemy is unjustifiable. These are classic intimidatory tactics. They illustrate why the West must begin to criticize Erdogan's regime to a greater extent on its infringement on freedom of speech, rather than to make deals with it.
Had Charlie Hebdo been a Turkish publication, its material would most likely have been branded illegal or brought under state control: it would likely no longer exist.
Despite the ruling by Turkey's judiciary that Erdogan could not eliminate access to Twitter, he nevertheless continues to advance his agenda of censorship.
This position Erdogan holds, of branding opposition to his regime as blasphemy, creates a religious divide between those who are "pure" and those who are "dangerous." Further, as mentioned, the notion that an idea is too politically toxic to be discussed contravenes the principles of free speech and freedom of expression that Turkey pledged as a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights.
Turkey's lurch to establish its government as some form of unassailable authority beyond questioning again breaches the ECHR, this time Article 9:The European Union and the liberal democracies have remained silent on Turkey's aggressive campaign against civil liberties. But it is time to stop betraying Turkish liberals, democrats and Kurdish people facing persecution for their views -- before it comes "soon to a theater near you."
"1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. "
Turkey is also likely to fall afoul of Article 10 of the ECHR:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers."
Turkey's blocking of social media, which targets communication with the outside world, also clearly infringes on the "regardless of frontiers" stipulation.
And finally, Turkey's actions are also clearly in breach of Article 11
"Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests."
Countries in the West sometimes seem to fantasize that Turkey, with half of Istanbul in Europe, can therefore can modernized, be become progressive and work with the West.
They distance themselves and turn a blind eye to the Turkish government's assaults on human rights. Before Turkey is capitulated to even further, or again considered for membership in the European Union, shining a serious light on the country seems long overdue.
EUobserver: Erdogan wants visa-free travel for Turks by October.
The deal agreed in March by EU leaders and Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that visa liberalisation should be granted by the end of June at the latest, if Turkey fulfilled all the required 72 benchmarks.
Last week the EU Commission proposed lifting the visa requirements, even though Turkey fell short on five criteria.
Erdogan's comments came as it emerged that the European Parliament, which will also have to agree to grant visa free travel, would not begin discussing the issue until all the 72 required benchmarks are met by Turkey.
One of the crucial outstanding criteria is narrowing the definition of terrorism and terrorist acts in Turkish law, so that it could not be used to prosecute journalists, academics or opposition figures.
Erdogan last week warned he would not change the anti-terror law for the sake of visa-free travel. on Tuesday he sounded equally defiant on that point.
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