There’s something particularly precious about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan standing in front of Parisians recently and saying, with a straight face, that journalists help foster terrorism.
It’s cute because he’s busy imprisoning them as fast as he can round them up, roughly 99.9 percent of the time on nonsense “terrorism” charges (sarcasm mine). You know, like insulting him or his likeness. Or on “suspicion of terrorism.” Or for signing peace petitions. Anything is jail-able with Erdogan.
So when French President Emmanuel Macron – on Jan. 5 during a joint press conference in Paris voiced concern about the students, teachers and journalists Turkey is still cracking down on in retribution for a July 2016 coup attempt that, unfortunately, failed – Erdogan had this nugget of gold to say:
“Terror doesn’t form by itself. Terror and terrorists have gardeners. These gardeners are those people viewed as thinkers. They water … from their columns on newspapers. And one day, you find, these people show up as a terrorist in front of you.”
The irony of Erdogan standing before a podium, in front of cameras, saying that, isn’t lost on me.
After all, for the second year in a row, Turkey has taken the gold medal for the most imprisoned journalists; that’s more than Iran and China and Russia, with 73 people behind bars.
But see, in Erdogan’s Turkey, everyone has great potential to be a terrorist – everyone who disagrees with the man. That’s why his government has expanded the definition of the word “terrorism,” broadening it to mean whatever Erdogan wants it to mean.
So if the Turkish dictator “thinks” – see what I did there? – that journalists, just by writing and thinking and reporting, are terrorists watering their newspaper columns, I hope they grow green and luscious and tall.