Sunday 24 April 2016

Insulting Erdogan

What you get for dealing with dictators’ – German PP leader Kramm to RT on his Erdogan poem arrest

© Mike Herbst
© Mike Herbst / Facebook

23 April, 2016
The head of the Berlin branch of Germany’s Pirate Party, who was arrested for citing an insulting poem about Turkish President Erdogan, has told RT people should expect to lose their freedom of speech when their government “signs deals with dictators.”
Bruno Kramm was arrested on Friday for quoting a line from Jan Boehmermann’s satirical poem about Turkish President Recep Tajiip Erdogan during a rally supporting the comedian. The latter was forced to suspend his TV show last week after Chancellor Merkel heeded Erdogan’s calls to begin criminal proceedings against the famous satirist. He is now being prosecuted under a rarely used section of the German criminal code – Section 103 – for “insulting a representative of a foreign state.”

[The fact] that Merkel now is actually giving Erdogan a chance to press lawsuits is ridiculous. But it shows that when you start to deal with dictators like Erdogan, then you will face severe troubles for your own people in your own country,”Kramm says.

© Keine Macht dem Erdowahn

He was told by police that merely quoting a line from the controversial poem was a violation of Section 103. The Pirate Party leader says his arrest is a clear sign that people in Germany are losing their right to express their thoughts out loud, which is what troubles him the most.

“I made some quotes [from the poem] and I was explaining it. I did not expect [an arrest]. Basically I was treated like a criminal. What is even worse, the whole demonstration was shut down, so the freedom of speech of so many people who wanted to speak was taken away.”

Kramm says he actually finds the poem too controversial, as it is 
“full of sexism and fascism” – views with which he does not agree. However, he also claims that in light of recent events, it’s hard to deny the Boehmermann’s accusations against the Turkish leader.

I [analyzed] some other parts of the poem which are true.  Erdogan is [targeting] Kurdish people and that he is [threatening] Christian people in Turkey... Which is basically a fact.”

Last weekend, eight Syrians were killed by Turkish border guards while fleeing violence in their country as they were trying to cross into Turkey through a mountain smuggling route, as documented by a video obtained by The Times. They were forced back by government forces, who were firing live rounds. Most of the victims were women and children.

Kramm says European authorities refuse to see what a great mistake they’ve made by handing the keys to European borders and the“management” of refugees over to the Turkish president.

“What the EU and Merkel did – they signed a deal [providing] that, in the future, Erdogan will take care of Syrian refugees. But we just saw what he is doing to refugees at the border of Syria when he was shooting people to death. And basically now this person is responsible to somehow take care of the border of Europe […] I think Merkel’s done a huge mistake.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel went to Turkey on Saturday to discuss the implementation of the migrant deal that was sealed with Ankara in March, under which the EU will deport illegal migrants to Turkey and take back Syrian refugees, while providing Ankara with financial aid and promises of a visa-free regime for Turks.

'We Will Continue to Write': Journalist Fights Erdogan’s Attack on Press
In the latest sign of Turkey’s continuing crackdown on freedom of the press, Ankara is moving forward with the trial of two journalists who revealed the government’s role in arms smuggling. Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear speaks with Turkish journalist Kemal Okuyan to discuss Erdogan’s war on truth.

23 April, 2016

"There are journalists from different sectors of the opposition who are on trial. There are leftist people, liberals, communists from Kurdish movement, and even from rival religious sects who are opposing Erdogan," Okuyan tells Loud & Clear.

"But one of the most spectacular trials is related to two journalists, Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, who are accused of publishing information about trucks full of arms that were going to be delivered to jihadi groups in Syria."

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In essence, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is punishing these reporters for "revealing" facts that were largely already known to the Turkish public.

"Starting from the beginning of the armed conflict in Syria, everybody [knew] that the Turkish government supported, in every means, the jihadi groups," Okuyan says. "This was general information and there was enough clear evidence.

"It was not the first time that those photographs were published. It is an interesting thing."

The Erdogan government has shuttered a number of media outlets, including Sputnik’s Turkish bureau. Earlier this week, Sputnik Turkey’s editor-in-chief Tural Kerimov was denied entry into the country, and both his passport and credentials were stripped from him.

Writing for the Turkish newspaper Sol, Okuyan has had his own run-ins with the Erdogan government.

"I myself will [appear in] court on the fifth of May [for] insulting Erdogan. They charged me with five years, and have two other cases."

His fate will be not decided by jury, but by a judge. Okuyan’s case is one of thousands who are facing prison for criticizing the president.

"There are 2,000 cases related [to] insulting Erdogan. Only three of them are related to me. There are elder people, even students, even children. This is ridiculous. I am a writer. I have been writing for many years and I have to criticize the government."

Merkel Faces Political Mutiny After Charging Comedian for Insulting Erdogan
"This is something we cannot accept and we will not accept. We will continue to write this," he states. Similar to Sputnik, entire sections of Sol’s online content have been banned.

Erdogan’s crackdown extends beyond Turkey, as Ankara pushes to punish a German poet for insulting the Turkish president. Remarkably, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone along with Erdogan’s request to prosecute.

"The problem is [that] two politicians, Merkel and Erdogan, are in trouble, and they are connected in this refugee problem. So I think that Merkel is under big pressure coming from the opposition in her country."

"Merkel cannot survive supporting Erdogan like this."

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