Turkey in no place to condemn U.S. crackdown on George Floyd protests - analyst

Ankara should think twice about joining other anti-U.S. dictatorships before berating the United States over anti-racism protests as Turkey’s recent history is riddled with grave and unchecked government-led violations, wrote Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Comparisons between Turkey’s 2013 Gezi Park protests and recent U.S. protests on racial discrimination fail to acknowledge that Ankara continues to silence critics and not punished Turkish authorities for their transgressions, Rubin said in the Washington Examiner.

The killing of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25 triggered unprecedented, nationwide protests, leading to curfews and the National Guard being called in to cities across the United States.

Turkish officials denounced the crackdown, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said the “racist and fascist” approach by the U.S. police led to Floyd’s death.

The comparison made between the Gezi protests and those in the United States in a Washington Post article last week, by Turkish journalist Aslı Aydtıntaşbaş, fails to consider factors differentiating Ankara and Washington, Rubin wrote.

The Gezi Park demonstrations in Istanbul grew into a nationwide protest movement against increasing authoritarianism in Erdoğan's government.  Eight protesters and a police officer were killed in the civil unrest and 5,000 were injured.

“Authors and analysts like me who signed the 2016 “Never Trump” letter need not fear arrest or financial ruin for criticizing the president. The same cannot be said for any Turk who raises his voice against Erdoğan,’’ Rubin wrote, noting that Turkey is the world’s greatest jailer of journalists.

There are 95 journalists imprisoned in Turkey, according to a May 22 report by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The country has maintained the highest number of journalists behind bars for several years.

Furthermore, even though police brutality does exist in the United States, the act is prosecuted, while no such justice is found in Turkey, Rubin wrote.

Freedom and the rule-of-law will still prevail in the United States, while notions are nowhere to be found in Turkey, he said.


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