Macron wrong to equate Turkey with Russia on human rights - commentator

French President Emmanuel Macron is wrong to equate Turkey with Russia on issues of human rights, a Hürriyet Daily News commentator wrote.

Güven Sak said he felt “offended” by the comparison, saying that while Turkey merely jailed its critical journalists, Russia often had them killed.

Macron, in a speech at the European Court of Human Rights, said that “several member states” were not respecting the European Human Rights Convention.

“For example,” he said. “With Turkey and Russia, which are not the only examples, the risk is evident.”

Contrasting Turkey to what he called Russia’s “neo-Tsarist behemoth”, Sak said:

Only about half of Turkey’s population has ever voted for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the country still has high-level critical dialogue. Overlooking all this and casting us down to Russia’s level is disrespectful to democratic voices in Turkey. It also lowers the standard for the country, making it more likely that we really will one day be at Russia’s level of democratic development.

Sak said that Turkey had “a track record of steady improvement” in human rights despite the recent traumas of the Syrian civil war, the rise of armed Kurdish separatists and the perceived indifference of Turkey’s Western allies.

Turkey also does not have the power and oil money that has allowed Russia the freedom to shun the West, he said.