Turkey’s Thugocracy

  • As in 1908-1912, journalists are at the center of the government’s rage.
  • “They [journalists from Turkey’s leading newspaper, Hurriyet] had never had a beating before. Our mistake was that we never beat them in the past. If we had beaten them…” — Abdurrahim Boynukalin, Member of Parliament from the governing AKP Party.
  • Last week, Ahmet Hakan, Hurriyet’s popular columnist, who has 3.6 million Twitter followers, was beaten by four men, three of whom happened to be AKP members. Hakan had to undergo surgery. Of the seven men involved in allegedly planning and carrying out the attack, six were immediately released.
  • The mob confessed to the police that they had been commissioned to beat Hakan on orders from important men in the state establishment, including the intelligence agency and “the chief.”
  • Hundreds of Turkish and Western politicians have publicly condemned the attack on Hakan. Except President Erdogan. Hardly surprising.

In 1908, the Ottoman Empire, under the new name of The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), transformed into an autocratic establishment openly threatening its critics, especially journalists. In 1910, three prominent journalists, Hasan Fehmi, Ahmet Samim and Zeki Bey, who were leading opponents of the regime, were murdered. Several other journalists were beaten by thugs commissioned by the CUP. Continue reading