As Turkey prepares to observe the anniversary of the failed Erdogan Coup, the Turkish president had a striking message for the U.S and Europe.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the West of failing to uphold its principles of freedom by not sufficiently supporting his administrations’ propaganda. “When it comes to it, they talk about freedoms. What kind of freedom is this?”
The Turkish government attempted to organize July 15 commemoration events in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, all of which banned such events. The United States turned down an advertising buy from the Turkish government to place posters celebrating Erdogan on the occasion in the Washington, DC, metro. The U.S. embassy in Ankara has also warned American citizens to avoid coup commemoration events, as Turkish state-friendly media have promoted a conspiracy theory that the United States organized the failed coup, and American citizens may face violence at emotionally charged commemoration events.
Despite the warning, American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a statement this week commemorating “the Turkish people – brave men and women – [who] stood up against coup plotters and defended their democracy.” “I take this moment to recognize their courage and honor the victims of the events of July 15, 2016,” he said.”
The statement apparently wasn’t enough for Erdogan, as he responded in front of an audience on Thursday claiming that Turkey upholds personal freedoms better than America and Europe do.
“We see the U.S. does not allow July 15 posters displayed on subways. We see similar things in Europe. We went to the G20 summit and wanted to meet our citizens in hall meetings. The applications were submitted, however, they did not allow the president of Turkey, they did not allow the ministers. When it comes to it, they talk about freedoms. What kind of freedom is this?” said President Erdogan.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was also upset that Western countries refused to allow mass Turkish demonstrations or state run propaganda campaigns in public transits.
“The attitude that the U.S. and some European countries have taken towards various July 15 commemoration events is not acceptable under any circumstances,” the Prime Minister stated.
Turkey has done more than its fair share of censorship and violating human rights regarding the celebration of the July 15th coup:
Under Erdogan, the Turkish government has shut down hundreds of media outlets and arrested and prosecuted hundreds for “insulting the president” or otherwise criticizing the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP). Major newspaper and broadcast outlet editors and producers have faced prosecution for generating content the AKP has branded illegal. Turkish police have arrested nearly 50,000 people since the July 15 coup for alleged ties to Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric Erdogan claims orchestrated the failed coup. Months after the coup attempt, the Turkish government confirmed American claims that Ankara had not sent Washington any proof that Gulen was involved in the events of July 15. Gulen himself denies any involvement, while the leaders of the coup attempt made no mention of him. Instead, coup plot leaders issued a statement that day announcing that they had acted “with the aim of reinstalling the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to make rule of law pervade again, to re-establish the ruined public order.”
The United Nations has accused the Turkish government of human rights violations against those arrested following the failed coup.
How Turkey can expect any support from the West after treating their citizens in such a manner is ridiculous. Erdogan’s Islamist gestapo more than discredits any lessons in freedom Turkey wants to preach to the West.