President Erdogan of Turkey each day is acting more like an oriental despot and less of a president in the true sense. In a recent court case from Turkey that encapsulates this, an elderly man was accused of “insulting Erdogan” in a cafe after somebody allegedly overheard him disagreeing with Erdogan’s governmental policies. The elderly man was found “guilty” and for his punishment has been required to read and summarize Erdogan’s official biography:
An İstanbul court sentenced 75-year-old Ali Şahin, who was accused of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to read and summarize 24 books, including an Erdoğan biography, the Oda TV news website reported on Sunday.
Şahin was investigated by an İstanbul prosecutor for allegedly insulting Erdoğan in a coffeehouse, a charge he denied and claimed to be slander.
The man was questioned by the police then released on probation.
During a visit to the probation bureau, Şahin learned that he had been sentenced to read and write summaries of 24 books listed by the İstanbul 8th Criminal Court of Peace.
The list included, besides several Turkish and international literary classics, Islamist and pro-Erdoğan publications by people such as Faruk Köse, a columnist for a daily with radical Islamist views, and pro-government journalists Abdulkadir Selvi and Turgay Güler as well as “The Birth of a Leader,” a biographical work about Erdoğan.
“My lawyer has objected to the decision. Nevertheless, I’ll procure these books and start reading them. I’m 75. I don’t want to deal with stuff like this,” Şahin said.
Several jurists told Oda TV that the court’s decision goes against European human rights legislation and relevant provisions of the Turkish Constitution in that it compels a person to read publications with political narratives that he doesn’t believe in, a clear violation of the principles of freedom of belief and respect for private life.(source, source)
Given the history of such autocratic rulers, it makes one wonder if the man was younger, would he have simply “disappeared,” or worse?
It also gives one to wonder about President Trump, who has expressed multiple times his open support of Erdogan and his “methods” of ruling. One has to wonder, given Trump’s open contempt that he has shown to the Supreme Court and the rule of law in general as I have noted before, if given the legal opportunity, that he would not stop to conduct himself similar to Erdogan.
It is indeed something to think about.