Turkish Government Arrests 16-Year-Old Boy For Insulting Erdogan

1533782_1013750711972480_2898209863156174231_n220px-Recep_Tayyip_ErdoganThe rapid decline of civil liberties in Turkey continue this month under the expanding control of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his coalition of Islamic parties. The latest sign came with the arrest of Mehmet Emin Altunses, 16, who allegedly committed the crime of “insulting” Erdogan. That is what free speech has become in Turkey. It is a crime to write or say things insulting about Erdogan who is viewed around the world as a menacing clown destroying secularism and civil liberties in Turkey. Despite such moments as Erdogan’s calling people who use birth control “traitors” and saying Muslims discovered America, you are not allowed to be disrespectful or insulting in discussing Erdogan.

A court finally released the 16-year-old after repeated efforts of his family. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

Altunses had delivered a speech on Wednesday in Konya where he accused Erdogan and the ruling party of corruption. He described Erdogan as the “chief of theft, bribery and corruption.” Konya is a stronghold of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) and, with Erdogan, is pushing for the insertion of Islamic rules on every level of the government — once a bastion of secularism in the Muslim world.

Ahmet_Davutoglu_head_(cropped)Now in most governments, the political leaders would immediately express shame and regret at the arrest of a boy for speaking out against his government. However, this is at the Erdogan government which is increasingly demanding obedience from citizens and compliance with Islamic dictates. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (right) supported the arrest of the boy, saying: “Everyone must respect the office of president whoever he is.” That is, respect the leader as opposed to the principle of free speech. For Davultoglu, the free speech concerns are not even worth mentioning.

Notably, this is the same country that was working with the Obama Administration to create an international blasphemy standard. Fortunately, the efforts to create such a standard under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton largely failed but the change in U.S. position in favor of such a standard is still be cited by advocates seeking to curtail free speech.

Turkey has long been one of my favorite places on Earth and I have long hoped that the country’s secular traditions would offer a lasting alternative to the Islamic and sharia-based systems in Muslims countries. I know many secular Muslims in Turkey and there continue to be brave individuals, like this teenager, who have risen to challenge the Erdogan government. It is telling that the first right that authoritarian governments attack remains free speech. Yet, that right is under attack even in the West. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targets with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

Those resisting Erdogan’s effort to curtail free speech and freedom of religion are on the front lines of this struggle.


48 thoughts on “Turkish Government Arrests 16-Year-Old Boy For Insulting Erdogan”

  1. Darren

    You illustrate a good picture of government involvement in things of this sort. In BC, north of the border, the BCLCB has a virtual monopoly on sales and importation of liquor. If you want to import French wine or Mexican beer, they take the total cost: at the source, transport, and other holding costs and multiply it by 325%. If they like what you import, i.e. if it sells well on their shelves, most of the booze in BC is sold through BCLCB stores, they take the product from you by negotiating directly with the source. The BCLCB is one of the largest importers in the world. Now, this money they make employes people at good wages and provides billions for the health system and other government costs. However, private liquor sales is limited to beer and some wine and all liquor must go through the Province.

    In the US this sort of thing was and probably still is seen with the moonshiners versus the ‘revenuers’. The government wants its cut. However, the issue does work itself out over time. When I grew up in BC the only place you could have a beer was in the basement of a hotel. The law demanded that to sell beer you needed to have so many rooms, etc. All booze was purchased and BCLCB stores. Now there are off sales at pubs. There are neighborhood pubs where you can eat well and drink craft beers, etc.

    The main accomplishment of the new laws in the US is that it is not longer a criminal offense to smoke pot. I knew kids in the late 60’s and early 70’s in Canada, before they became rational about it, that had their entire lives ruined and did two years in a ‘fire camp’ in the woods just for smoking. This is still the case in a lot of US states. The money and cost is important to stop criminal elements in the system by making it lucrative as a business but nothing happens all at once. It is a world of layers. This first layer is the most intelligent one in that a youth can do what people do all over the world and not find his future ruined.

    The supply and pricing ingredient vis a vis the criminal element will work itself, not out, but to a manageable level over time. There are plenty of local bunkers that will never be found that have been and will continue to provide good sh*t to an already well established clientele. The main thing is that their customers won’t go to jail.

  2. Darren Smith….I didn’t realize that you apparently live in Washington State, too. Since we’re all potheads here in Washington (see ROSEEN V. IDAHO, or ask Idaho law enforcement), the Reefer Madness overtaking our state adds an extra element of danger to gun ownership, driving, chewing gum, etc.
    Idaho law enforcement, with their “trained eye” and “knowing what to look for” (their words), should have a field day now that another neighboring state (Oregon) has largely legalized recreational use if pot. Who knows how many “Oregon Darien Roseens” are poised to invade Idaho? -Tom in Walla Walla

    1. Tom,

      I have been watching the marijuana issue here in the state since I-502 was drafted. Despite what the Liquor Control Board says in its pumped up numbers it has been a disaster as far as converting a black market into a legitimate one. One of the members of the Liquor Board, Chris Marr, announced his retirement and indicated he is looking possibly to be a lobbyist or work as a consultant to other states to assist them in developing a marijuana legalization of their own. In my opinion he is the last one that should be considered given how badly the LCB rolled out I-502.

      Oregon’s legalization seems to have taken everything Washington did wrong and except for a few issues Oregon’s looks promising.

      It is apparent that the WA Liquor Control Board has no concept, in my view, of business economics and causes more damage than it helps the industry. Several days ago the LCB announced new regulations on advertising. They are draconian. The board goes about touting the great amount of revenue and success the state is benefiting from but at the same time it sabotages efforts through its policy making and disorganization to mentor a fledgling industry to success. The tax burden is so great that the black market is automatically at a significant advantage then the LCB encumbers the businesses with so many regulations and costs the model in my view is not sustainable for recreational marijuana retailers. They claim they can raise great amounts of revenue to the state on one hand and on the other they make it difficult for the tax generators to succeed.

      The LCB once bragged how there were around 350 new jobs created in state as a result of its efforts. For some prospective there are about 60 blacksmiths in the state and there are 7,000,000 residents.

      The legal retail market is in a precarious position. If there are not tectonic changes in the system there are going to be few gains made on the retail side. From what I have read, retailers have to sell between 24 to 30 dollars per gram to go from breaking even to earning a profit. The businesses lose money if it is below that. Right now there is a glut in supply and the wholesalers are experiencing carrying costs in surplus inventory. This has helped the retail price go into the 12 to 18 dollar range and this brought some better horizons for the retailers due to cost and demand benefits. But overproduction and lack of retailers is driving most of this where growers are getting rid of excess inventory and are being squeezed by the situation.

      Here is where the core problem lies. The retailers must have a good wholesale price in order to increase their sales to be in contrast to where the black and medical markets are. The black and medical markets tend to sell for 10 to 13 dollars per gram. In order to be competitive with this the recreational retailers will have to meet or beat this price. The problem could be that even if they were to sell for 8 dollars per gram they might have a good margin but a 40% markup to achieve a 8 dollar price point to the customer (inclusive of the 25% retailer excise tax) the retailer would have to buy the marijuana from the processor for $4.85 per gram. The processor who sells to the retailer, if assuming a thirty percent markup and the 25% excise tax would need to buy it from the producer (grower) at $3.13 and the producer would need grow at a cost of $2.16 to make a 20% markup to sell.

      The above numbers assume a healthy markup percentage, however because these markups result in low dollar amounts due to low costs to make the marijuana price competitive there must be a very high sales numbers. Assuming the overhead costs to retain employees and maintain the shop at say $7,000 per month they would have to sell 2,222 grams of marijuana per month to cover overhead.

      Now the federal tax problem comes into play. Tax rules on marijuana do not allow the processor and retailer to deduct the 25% marijuana excise tax or costs associated with nearly everything other than cost of goods sold (essentially the wholesale price of the marijuana). So add that into the mix to reduce the earnings from their investment.

      Now the bad news. All the cartels would have to do is dump all the low overhead marijuana they can into the Washington market to push prices down to say $4 per gram. In doing so the high overhead legal recreational market would more or less collapse.

      1. Darren – I thought the cartels were using the national forests in WA as local grows. That should lower their price point.

  3. Not against people owning guns, just no aircraft carriers or stealth bombers.

    Kind of biased against wackos wielding weapons

    Would like to see criminals unarmed

    Realize that problems arrive by layers and are dealt with by layers; there is no one solution.

    Understand that those seeking one solution are the most dangerous

    Find oligarchs treasonous

    Have come to terms with the need for a government, police department, etc. long ago, however, one must be vigilant and the media provides

    Tend to shoot for the middle ground, have lost a lot of anger over the years regarding my own insignificance, you know one in seven billion

    Can’t help but find those who rely on dictates and doctrines dangerous

    Believe wholeheartedly in the evolution of society, kind of a left foot, right foot, then left foot thing

    etc, etc, etc

  4. DBQ, you have just given our representatives another way to tax us. Checking on all these things, which is a good idea, will cost thousands per person. Done in private sector a lot less, but do you think the dimwits in DC will figure that out?

    Next, all cars will have their pollution testing at to-be-built with specific controls EPA-approved facilities. The state’s will give up this responsibility for the common good. They can sell their existing facilities.

    These additional requirements will be handled by the IRS,mc it’s estimates yet to be announced, Lois Lerner hasn’t finished them.

  5. Darren,
    It doesn’t appear to stop the organization of an “unarmed” body of men, so they have that going for them. 😉

  6. It’s an easy issue in Washington:

    State Constitution

    Article 1 SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

  7. Barkin, Thanks for the book recommendation. I do the same and have lamented how seldom that occurs here. Maybe folks are afraid to say what they’re reading. I just finished Jim Gaffigan’s book on food. It is pee your pants funny. I try to read lighter stuff during the Holidays.

  8. Yes Isaac, I think you should be required to go to a government shrink prior to buying a gun. You need to fill out Form BS4459-C in triplicate. It needs to have you list all medications and medical treatment.. Part of this form will require you to sign[notarized] a waiver giving access to all your medical records and your PERMANENT records from schools. After submitting the form to the proper regional office, the background check will be performed. Then, you will be contacted by mail w/ a psychological evaluation date, arbitrarily set by the govt. shrink. If you can’t make that appt., you need to call the office and follow the menu promps to reschedule an appt. if you can make the assigned evaluation date, you will learn of your approval or disapproval by mail. The entire process will only take 4-6 months. If you cannot make the assigned evaluation date, plan on a year or so.

  9. I recommend a book which is about the Supreme Court but also about the divergence between conservative libertarians and conservatives like Scalia. Overruled , by Damon Root.

  10. “We live in a country that is ‘HOPEFULLY ENLIGHTENED ENOUGH’ [emphasis mine] to not allow circumstances to bring us to a point where we need to fortify our neighborhoods against a tyrannical group of secret service and other ‘bad guys’ from the government.”

    Speaking of ludicrous:

    “This country starts and hopefully stops with democracy.”

    You’ve got the ‘stop’ with democracy part correct. We are a REPUBLIC; I will even concede calling it a representative democracy. It is tragically true that “America is a greater democracy today than when it was founded.” And I don’t read ‘greater’ as better; rather ‘more like’. I would’ve chosen the word ‘dies’ as opposed to ‘stop’.

    Collective opinion DOES NOT trump unalienable rights in our constitutional republic, but it certainly will overwhelm rights in your democracy.

    By the way, good luck finding an “enlightened” majority.

  11. Isaac

    Could you please be specific about what it is that you think the NRA is doing that is violating the equal rights of others? Or is perverting the legal process. I am assuming (guessing) that you mean by lobbying? If so, then how is their lobbying any different than any other industry. Why the vitriol for the NRA and not other special interest

    I agree….lobbying IS a perversion of the process. All lobbying. How do you propose stopping it?

    I’m serious. I do not belong to the NRA and don’t know much about their process [other than they want my money and they aren’t going to get it 😉 ]

    As for the bulk of your argument, it points in one direction and that is anybody can argue anything if they step off topic. Stalin, Japan, etc. These tyrants you speak of are more akin to the NRA than our government.

    Au contraire. My arguments are very much on point. Any government can become tyrannical. Including and maybe even especially our own. It doesn’t happen overnight. It is a creeping process that isn’t known until it is too late. The criterion that you suggest for regulating gun ownership….the 3 points that I details are just those types of things that can be exploited by a tyrannical government.

  12. DBQ

    Firstly, “our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others’ Others, in a democracy, means the majority. The NRA violates that along with other oligarchs or special interests.

    Secondly, the law, at the time of Jefferson, was represented by the laws imposed by what was seen as and what became a foreign power, not a power of the land. Laws are made and changed by the people through the democratic process. The NRA perverts that process.

    What represents: sane, rational, and reasonable and the right to appeal the effects of a criminal past are issues for a society to determine not any individual just to exercise some John Wayne attitude.

    The answer to your who questions is us, the society, through the democratic process. My argument is not with the 2nd amendment, gun ownership, or the Supreme Court. My argument is with those who feel that somehow the perversions of special interest groups such as the NRA, in this case pertaining to gun ownership, is American. The NRA’s perversions of the democratic process is not American. It is a travesty.

    As for the bulk of your argument, it points in one direction and that is anybody can argue anything if they step off topic. Stalin, Japan, etc. These tyrants you speak of are more akin to the NRA than our government. That is how Hitler came to power. He was part of a group that wielded power disproportionate to its representation through fear and coercion.

  13. Paul C.:

    LOL. That is also correct, although I am confident that no one on the Supreme Court loses any sleep over it. My view is that criticism of the NRA is not a form of blasphemy, and that the proper interpretation of the Second Amendment requires consideration of its subordinate clause, in accordance with long-established rules of statutory construction. Therefore, I agree with the conclusions in the case of State v. Buzzard, 4 Ark. (2 Pike) 18 (1842), in which the following appears:

    “If these general powers of the government are restricted in regard to the right to keep and bear arms, the limitation, to whatever extent it may exist, will be better understood, and more clearly seen, when the object for which the right is supposed to have been retained, is stated. That object could not have been to protect or redress by individual force, such rights as are merely private and individual, as has been already, it is believed, sufficiently shown: consequently, the object must have been to provide an additional security for the public liberty and the free institutions of the state, as no other important object is perceived, which the reservation of such right could have been designed to effect. Besides which, the language used appears to indicate distinctly that this, and this alone, was the object for which the article under consideration was adopted. And it is equally apparent, that a well regulated militia was considered by the people as the best security a free state could have, or at least, the best within their power to provide. But it was also well understood that the militia, without arms, however well disposed, might be unable to resist, successfully, the effort of those who should conspire to overthrow the established institutions of the country, or subjugate their common liberties; and therefore, to guard most effectually against such consequences, and enable the militia to discharge this most important trust, so reposed in them, and for this purpose only, it is conceived the right to keep and bear arms was retained, and the power which, without such reservation, would have been vested in the government, to prohibit, by law, their keeping and bearing arms for any purpose whatever was so far limited or withdrawn; which conclusion derives additional support from the well-known fact that the practice of maintaining a large standing army in times of peace had been denounced and repudiated by the people of the United States as an institution dangerous to civil liberty and a free State, which produced at once the necessity of providing some adequate means for the security and defense of the state, more congenial to civil liberty and republican government. And it is confidently believed that the people designed and expected to accomplish this object by the adoption of the article under consideration, which would forever invest them with a legal right to keep and bear arms for that purpose; but it surely was not designed to operate as an immunity to those who should so keep or bear their arms as to injure or endanger the private rights of others, or in any manner prejudice the common interests of society.” (pp. 24-25)

  14. Thomas Jefferson

    Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.

  15. “Anyone who owns a gun should be verified by society to be of sane mind, free of a criminal past, and having reasonable and rational intentions”

    There are many problems with this wide sweeping and nebulous statement. Besides being imprecise it has the potential for much abuse.

    1. Who is to define of sane mind? A government panel? In Russia, at one point, to oppose Stalin was to be determined to be insane and a person would be incarcerated or just disappear…..forever. There are those who want to define people who disagree with certain political positions today as being insane and even advocate locking up people who even disagree about such things as Global Warming. Letting “society” determine who is of sane mind is a slippery slippery slope rife with political landmines and dependent on just who is in charge at any particular moment in time.

    2. Criminal past. What types of crimes are going to ban a person from possessing a weapon? Violent felonies? White collar felonies? Jay walking? Insulting the supreme leader? Saying bad things on a blog? How about potential criminal acts….Perhaps like the Japanese in WWII the Tea Party types should be locked up and prevented from having guns because, who knows…..they MIGHT commit a crime.

    Plus, since almost anything today can be construed to be a crime, if the government wants it to be, this is also a very wide sweeping all inclusive group of people prevented from exercising their rights. Slippery slope again subject to being abused..

    3. Rational intentions? Really? Who is going to determine what the intention of a person is from moment to moment? Or the intention applicable only at the inception of the transaction to own a weapon.

    Who determines what it rational? Is it rational to have a weapon to protect yourself against bears, mountain lions and other predators? Maybe not so much the wild animals in NYC. But it sure its where I live! There are other predators in NYC. Is it rational to be armed to protect yourself from them? What is rational to one person might seem irrational to another.

    It isn’t that I object to restrictions on some types of gun ownership or certain types of weapons. We just need to be very very careful to not be to overly inclusive in what can be regulated, how regulated and most importantly BY WHOM.

  16. Paul

    If the time comes when ‘we’ have to go after the government then it will be many many many dimensions from now and ‘we’ will be slaughtered. If you look back over the history of the US there has never been a time as free and as safe as now. Two things make us not realize this, we rarely take the time to study history, and absolutely every flaw that presents itself is fired into our brains through the media. This is a bad thing if not placed in the perspective of history but a good thing in that the ‘fine tuning’ is kept going.

    Regarding the SC, I am not at odds with the SC, only with the perversions of the oligarchical powers that be. The NRA being one of them. Regardless of whether you want to go through life packing a Glock or not, the NRA is usurping our democracy. Perhaps that is the direction the fear of the big moment should be focused upon. We have seen the enemy and the enemy is us.

    1. issac – actually I am at odds with the Supreme Ct, too. I think that citizens, as part of the militia, should be just as armed as the military. If the military has it, I should have it. Not sure that I can afford an aircraft carrier, but I should be able to have one.
      The police are already militarized. We are arming the Dept of Agriculture and Forestry. When are you going to open your eyes and see what is happening right around you.

  17. Dog lover

    This is somewhat akin to ‘Kill em all, let god sort em out.’ Kind of like Dolf Lungren, Bruce Willis, etc. To participate in a democracy one has to aspire to a certain level of enlightenment.

  18. The 2nd amendment is often remembered selectively, without considering context of time and situation and forgetting the first part. The amendment being a barrier between a government and an enlightened people is nothing short of ludicrous. We live in a country that is hopefully enlightened enough to not allow circumstances to bring us to a point where we need to fortify our neighborhoods against a tyrannical group of secret service and other ‘bad guys’ from the government. The issue is moot, except in the minds of those who find it self serving to place themselves at the same level of the government itself. The government is elected and therein lies the perversion of the system and the 2nd amendment by the NRA.

    The 2nd amendment is ambiguous when taken in its entirety. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” There is no direction mention or reference to individuals in this amendment. The ‘well regulated militia’ is a group of citizens regulated by, one can only hope, society. ‘a free State’ is that group. ‘The people’ grammatically refers to the society of people. There is no mention of individual rights but of the rights of a people collectively to defend themselves.

    The Supreme Court interpreted it based primarily on the second part alone and left it up to the states to set the perimeters of regulation. It was a predominantly right wing conservative court at the time but that is not the issue.

    The perversion comes when one puts the 2nd amendment in context with the time(s) of its inception and that of today and its place in the hierarchy of all that is supposed to be the foundation of this country. This country starts and hopefully stops with democracy. It started out as an ideal that was a goal and when you compare what constituted a voter or a participant in a democracy at the time the Constitution was created to now, there is little similarity, thank heaven. America is a greater democracy today than when it was founded.

    Democracy means that the groups that make up the parts, districts, or states, elect representatives to voice their collective opinion, or at least 51% of it. From the early days of democracy in Athens it was apparent that this would be a tug of war between oligarchs or special interests and the ‘everyman’. In the strictest sense of the meaning the enlightened individual should set the mark.

    It is recorded in recent history that on many many occasions when enlightened individuals have been polled and their numbers have represented vast majorities in favor of stricter gun control, the NRA has threatened to destroy the political life of those who did what they should and vote for stricter gun control in government. The NRA, funded by its members and money from the gun lobby has mounted campaigns to smear those it sees as going against its policy of absolutely no gun control and championed those who agree. This equates to a select group ruling the majority, not democracy, not America.

    The perversity is that gun regulation and control does nothing to oppose the 2nd amendment and in fact the words ‘well regulated’ are in the 2nd amendment. If anything regulation and control will protect the citizen’s rights from being taken away if the so called freedom to have a gun regardless is abused to a point that becomes unacceptable to the population. The 2nd amendment is nothing more than an amendment. It can itself be amended. The greatest perversity of the NRA and other special interest groups is that by championing the oligarchical style of rule, the NRA defeats the very essence of democracy. The irony is that the Constitution and its amendments were written to protect that very essence of democracy.

    One could go so far as to call the NRA an enemy of democracy and representative of the perversion that is an oligarchy, but I not that riled up.

    Next question, Paul.

    1. issac – hopefully you are aware that parts of the government that should have no need for arms are arming themselves to the teeth. And the time may come where we have to go after the government. Never forget, an armed society is a polite society.

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