The EU is turning a blind eye to an opposition crackdown in Turkey that’s polarizing society and complicating efforts to find a political solution to the nation’s Kurdish conflict, Demirtas said in an impromptu interview en route to Brussels. European leaders are expected to ink an agreement with Turkey on Monday that will offer faster EU membership negotiations and visa-free travel in exchange for stopping refugees from crossing the country to enter Europe.
Demirtas was speaking two days after Turkish government trustees took over one of Turkey’s primary opposition newspapers in a dramatic raid that sparked clashes between protesters and police. The seizure reflects a broader intolerance of dissent that has also undermined the HDP, who are now largely excluded from mainstream media coverage.
On the same day that authorities took control of the Zaman newspaper, European Council President Donald Tusk, who was in Istanbul, tweeted a picture of himself with Erdogan in front of a pair of golden throne-like seats.
It was almost identical to a photo-op with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year, which was around the same time that the EU agreed to Erdogan’s request to withhold a critical report on Turkish democracy until after the general election a few days later.
It’s been really nauseating watching German Chansellor Angela Merkel pander to Turkey’s thin-skinned, petty tyrant of a President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the hopes that he will reduce the flow of refugees into Europe.
By now, you’ve probably all heard about how Merkel cowed to Erdoğan’s demands by allowing the prosecution of a German comedian for the crime of mocking the sensitive strongman. As the Washington Post reported:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cleared the way for the prosecution of German comedian Jan Böhmermann, whose poem mocking Turkey’s president has become the centerpiece of a clash between Germany’s free-speech traditions and the government’s efforts to safeguard its important relations with Turkey.
That was earlier this month. Unfortunately, the story gets worse and even more embarrassing for Merkel. As BoingBoing reports:
Bruno Kramm, leader of Berlin’s branch of the German Pirate Party, was arrested Saturday for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kramm was detained while conducting a “literary analysis,” in support of comedian Jan Boehmermann, outside the Turkish Embassy in Berlin. As part of the publicity stunt, he read two lines of Boehmermann poem ridiculing Erdogan.
The incident comes after chancellor Angela Merkel allowed prosecutors to file charges against Boehmermann, following Turkish demands that he be punished for broadcasting the poem on local television.
The arrest will further embarrass the German government, which sees itself as supportive of free speech but has failed to scrap an old law against insulting foreign heads of state. Merkel has promised to do so, but has also been criticized for condemning the poem and cosying up to the Turks to get them to accept more Syrian refugees.
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