21 January 2016

The Perils of Journalism in Turkey

Turkey's Erdogan has been the subject of numerous criticisms regarding his 'clampdown' on journalism, his crushing of dissent and utilisation and abuse of Turkish law to go after newspapers and television stations.

It's all true. He's under threat and from several fronts and is working diligently to maintain control of the country's narrative.

But Erdogan is hardly unique. Turkey has a long history of crushing free speech and suppressing journalism. In fact, those who preceded Erdogan were probably much more severe in their tactics.

Why weren't we hearing about them in the Western media?

Well, that could be because some of these governments were being directly supported and in some cases all but installed by the United States. As long as the pro-US government is in power the American government and media seem to care not at all about such issues.

It's all immoral to be sure. Free speech is something that should be treasured and it's good to have people questioning state propaganda. It's ironic because in the American system most of the people are so brainwashed as to not even care.

That's not the case in many parts of the world and thus journalistic dissent becomes quite dangerous.

Erdogan is an evil man. He's just like every US president, Putin and many other rulers. You don't ascend to these positions without being a cutthroat. Once men attain power they will kill in order to keep it. Putin has plenty of journalistic blood on his hands but so does the United States. There have been many investigative journalists that have died of rather mysterious suicides or more conveniently they are killed overseas. The US is more than happy to utilise proxies. It's easier to sweep under the rug and the US has an overwhelming number of assets and agents all around the world to help it accomplish these goals. Turkey is no exception and while Erdogan heads a NATO member country he also knows there are serious threats from his allies seeking to undermine and destroy him. Whether it's the Gulen movement or the shadowy Grey Wolves he knows his programme and power structure are under threat.

But to pillory Erdogan and ignore the context and the larger truth is a travesty. If Erdogan is an enemy of journalism then he's simply following a tradition long established in Turkish politics by military dictatorships and American meddling.