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.
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.”
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.