The New York Times Scolds Erdogan, But Generally Remains An Ex-Ponto Pollyanna
Not so moderate Turkish females Â demand the “right to wear hijab…”
On September 13, 2009, The Sunday New York Times carriedÂ a short editorial (“A Clear Assault on the Press”) about recent events in Turkey. It managed to scold the Erdogan government:
Now Turkey has provided a particularly chilling example of another way to shut down independent voices — a fine of $2.5 billion that appears to be designed to put a major media company out of business….The media group, Dogan Yayin, is a widely respected conglomerate of newspapers and television stations including the Turkish-language version ofÂ CNN. Dogan journalists have not shied away from stories that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s iron-willed prime minister, does not like.
Is that the adjective that best fits? “Iron-willed”? Other adjectives come to mind: “despotic” or “cunning” or “ruthless” or “calculating,” or such adjectival phrases as “sinister in his single-minded determination to free Islam from the restraints placed on it by Ataturk.”
The Times continues:
Aydin Dogan, an owner of the media group’s parent company, is one of Mr. Erdogan’s most vocal critics. That makes it all the more suspicious that the Erdogan government levied a tax penalty on the Dogan group that is almost much as the value of the entire company.
So far so preachily on-the-side-of-the-angels good.
But then the editorial ends with this paragraph:
Turkey has made important strides in the last decade, amending its Constitution, outlawing the death penalty and bringing Turkish law more in line with European standards. Steps like this undermine that progress.
That last paragraph — about all the “progress” Turkey has made by changing its laws over the past decade, when Erdogan and theÂ AKP have been in power — should be held up for inspection. For aside from ending the death penalty, most of the “reforms” that the editorial staff of the Times applauds are in fact designed not by civil libertarians who are desirous of emulating the freedoms of the West, but by Erdogan’s schemers, who are using the claimed need to comply with theÂ E.U. to put in “reforms” that, as all the threatened secularists in Turkey understand, are really designed to weaken the power of the Turkish army and the power of the Turkish judiciary to uphold the secular order and the Kemalist restraints on Islam.