Erdoğan should free imprisoned critics at home after championing Khashoggi case - WP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should apply the same moral clarity he used in the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the thousands of journalists, civil servants and academics he wrongly detained and charged in his own country since the failed coup attempt in July 2016, the Washington Post said in an editorial on Monday.

Some 189 media outlets were shut down, 319 journalists arrested, of whom 180 are still detained; more than 6,000 academics lost their jobs; 4,463 judges and prosecutors were dismissed; and some 3,000 schools and universities shut down since Erdoğan’s purge against anyone affiliated with the the Gülen movement, which he holds responsible for the July 2016 coup attempt.

This is the same Erdogan who declared that Turkey has “moved heaven and earth” to reveal facts in the Khashoggi case, the Washington Post said, urging him to exercise such ‘herculean strength’ to free journalists and others he has wrongly incarcerated.

Fifty-nine-year Khashoggi, known for his criticism of the Saudi government, was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate building in İstanbul on Oct. 2 and Erdoğan has repeatedly stated his determination in shedding light on the case.

Erdogan is rightly outraged by Mr. Khashoggi’s murder, the article stated,  stressing that he can begin efforts in undoing the damage he has caused in Turkey by starting with Zehra Dogan, a journalist in Turkey and the founding editor of Jinha, a feminist Kurdish news agency staffed entirely by women, that was later closed down by one of his state of emergency decrees.

A mural in New York drawing attention to the imprisonment of Zehra Dogan, AFP


Dogan is one of many journalists is serving a jail sentence. She was sentenced to two years, nine months and 22 days for conducting “propaganda” for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for over 30 years, over a painting she created.