Sunday, June 5, 2011

Come Again??

AA PHOTO from Hurriyet Daily News

Campaigning over the weekend, Prime Minister Erdogan said the recent op-ed in The Economist endorsing the CHP was the work of "international gangs" and linked the magazine's support of the CHP to the opposition party's policy supposedly more friendly policy toward Israel. In an interview with the TRGT news channel on Saturday evening, the prime minister said, "This international media, as they are supported by Israel, would not be happy with the continuation of the AKP government. . . . Of course, they have their hands on Turkey nowadays." Is it a Zionist conspiracy? Or, is it that the prime minister simply cannot endure criticism or dissenting opinions?

In all fairness, emotional outbursts are common in Turkish politics, especially less than two weeks away from an election. At the same time, if the prime minister is looking to counter criticisms that he is thin-skinned, authoritarian, and intolerant of dissent, such baseless and strongly accusatory remarks are not winning him or his party any points.

Fellow party cadres Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and EU Chief Negotiator Egeman Bagis have also chimed in. According to Davutoglu, The Economist "violated media ethics" in printing the op-ed. From Bagis's point of view, the op-ed is mere "rubbish" and must have been ordered by "dark powers" inside Turkey (see Radikal columnist Cuneyt Ozdemir (in Turkish)). Okay . . . so not the work on international gangs . . . Ergenekon?

For more in English, see this story from Hurriyet Daily News.

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