Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been under a lot of pressure lately from the leaders of various western nations. He’s been criticized for human rights abuses in his country and his attacks on the Kurds, as well as his bullying of other countries and threats of non-cooperation. Amnesty International previously told the BCC that he’d actually been torturing his political enemies. With that much scrutiny being focused on his country, I wonder if it’s having any effect and making the Turkish leader reform his ways a bit?
Having found out that he just threw the chairman of Amnesty International in prison I’m going to have to go with “no” for the time being. (Associated Press)
A Turkish court has formally arrested Amnesty International’s chairman in the country pending trial on charges of membership in a terror organization, Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency said Saturday. The rights group called it a “mockery of justice.”
Taner Kilic was arrested in the western province of Izmir along with five other attorneys who are accused of using ByLock, an encrypted mobile messaging application. Kilic was detained on Tuesday and arrested late Friday.
ByLock is allegedly used by the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey blames for orchestrating last summer’s coup attempt and leading a terror organization. Gulen denies all allegations.
In the United States, if you use a heavily encrypted messaging application the government will go yell at the software developer and beg them for a back door of some sort. In Turkey, they’ll simply throw you in a dungeon, smash your damn phone and not worry about you texting anyone in the future.
Okay… I dread even having to ask, but is anyone actually going to do something about it this time? How about you, European Union? You’re supposed to have some influence with the Tyrant of Turkey since he’s trying to become a member. Got anything for us? (WRAL, emphasis added)
The European Union says that it will keep a close eye on Turkey’s treatment of an Amnesty International leader who was detained early this week as part of a wider crackdown on people suspected of links to a cleric accused of orchestrating last year’s failed coup.
The EU on Thursday called on Turkey “to clarify the charges swiftly” and reminded Ankara to “fully respect the presumption of innocence.”
I see. You’re going to “keep a close eye” on the situation. And you’re telling Erdogan to “respect the presumption of innocence.” So in other words, the Amnesty International chairman is pretty much screwed. Is that what you’re saying?
The charges against this guy consist of having an app on his phone. We’re talking about a Turkish president who has already disappeared tens of thousands of people ranging from police officials to university professors to clerics, mostly because somebody at some point whispered that they might not think Fethullah Gulen was the devil incarnate. But now you’re going to expect him to respect the presumption of innocence. Yeah. Sounds good. Let’s go with that, then.
So… the United States isn’t doing anything. The European Union isn’t doing anything. The Germans might pull their small number of troops and a handful of planes out of Turkey in the next few months, but Erdogan could clearly care less. And our American Pastor Andrew Brunson is still locked up over there for going on eight months.
I’m out of ideas. Anyone else?