By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The power of the cartoon seems to rival that of a division or more of soldiers, an economic boycott, or even a well-funded bribe. It only took one such cartoon to enrage Turkey such a degree that it effectively caused a worsening of diplomatic relations with France. We have to wonder what is more significant in these interesting times: the strength wielded by a free press satire newspaper, or how easily a dictator can be manipulated as a result of his unchecked ego and power.
The row between nations stemmed from a rather risque cover on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper of October 28th, 2020. A caricature depicts a randy, lecherous looking President Erdoğan sitting in his underwear upon an armchair while lifting the hijab of a laughing woman to expose her bare buttocks. The Turk seemingly takes delight in this, saying “Ouuuh! Le prophète!” A caption reads: “Erdogan dans le privé, il est très drôle” (A possible translation is “Erdoğan in the private sector, he is very funny.” )
Turkey and its president released the Kraken of its bureaucracy, prosecutors, and diplomats to counter the Charlie Hebdo cartoon threat, with his Communications Directorate proclaiming, “Our people should have no doubt that all necessary legal and diplomatic steps will be taken against the caricature in question. Our battle against these rude, ill-intentioned and insulting steps will continue until the end with reason but determination.”. Erdoğan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun wrote “Macron’s anti-Muslim agenda is bearing fruit! We condemn this most disgusting effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred.” Yet not to be outdone or outshined by his own underlings, President Erdoğan was more succinct and measured in his learned analysis, voicing a week ago that French President Macron ‘needed a mental health check’ for his pledging to defend secular values and fight radical Islam, prompting France to recall its ambassador.
Erdoğan could add to that mountain of wisdom by lending an ear to his cohort Saddam Hussein who during trial proceedings memorably orated, “The lion does not care about a monkey laughing at him from a tree.” and just let it go.
Continue reading “Turkey Flips Out Over Charlie Hebdo Cartoon” →
Like most of the world, we have watched the rapid decline of civil liberties in Turkey after the election of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his coalition of Islamic parties. Just last month, we discussed the arrest of Mehmet Emin Altunses, 16, who allegedly committed the crime of “insulting” Erdoğan. calling people who use birth control “traitors” and saying Muslims discovered America, you are not allowed to be disrespectful or insulting in discussing Erdoğan. The lawyer for a model and former Miss Turkey says she could face up to two years in prison for social media posts that prosecutors have deemed to be critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This includes the recent arrest of a Dutch journalist while Erdogan announced that Turkey was now a leading protector of the free press. The downward spiral of civil liberties in Turkey under Erdogan and the Islamic parties continued this week with announced prosecution of model and former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac, 26, for criticizing Erdogan. At issue is a simple satirical poem on Buyuksarac’s Instagram account.
Continue reading “The “Master’s Poem” Angers The “Big Master”: Police Arrest Former Miss Turkey For Insulting Erdogan” →
We have been following the gradual erosion of Turkey as a symbol of secularism in the Islamic world under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan was elected by Muslim parties and has steadily broken down secular traditions and introduced more and more Islamic influences in government. That effort has now reached the schools, where Erdogan and his party faithful are seeking to turn schools into training grounds for Islamic orthodoxy. The story below discusses the impact of new rules on Christian Pastor Ahmet Guvener who has learned that, even after securing an exemption for his daughter from mandatory religious classes at her school, she is still required to make Islamic classes in the new Turkey being shaped by Erdogan. If she does not learn Islamic courses on the life of Mohammad or the Quran, she will fail. Erdogan calls it all part of his stated goal of raising “pious generations.”
Continue reading “Erdogan Pushes Forward His Plan For A “Pious Generation”: Turkey Forces Students (Even Christians) To Take Islamic Classes” →
Much of the talk after the massive march for free speech in Paris this weekend was the absence of President Barack Obama with other world leaders. It was an embarrassment for our country and slap in the face to the French. Instead, the Administration sent Jane Hartley, one of its bundlers turned diplomats who were given a major appointment for raising money for the President. Even though Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris that very day, he did not even stick around to march with other leaders. The Administration is now admitting that it blew it but there is a mystifying lack of basic competence and foresight at the White House at such moments. Rather than attend the rally, Obama stated in town for a photo op with the San Antonio Spurs. It was a shameful image to leave with French. This was not the only such controversy over who was present and who was not.
Continue reading “Parade Politics: Accusations Fly Over Who Was Present And Who Was Not In Paris For the March For Free Speech” →