Turkey's PM Rejects Europe's 'Red Line' On Freedom of the Press

Post-coup crackdown now hits one of Turkey's last remaining opposition news outlets.


Take your red line and…
Linda Say/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m defended the arrest of at least 13 journalists and rejected the European Union's "red line" regarding freedom of the press, amid the latest Turkish government crackdown on anyone it deems a threat in the aftermath of last summer's failed coup attempt.

The secular and independent Cumhuriyet, one of the last "opposition" news outlets still technically allowed to operate in Turkey, was accused by the government of running "subliminal messages" to encourage the coup and/or attempting to legitimize it after the fact. The paper's editor-in-chief and "at least" 12 other staffers were arrested, according to Christian Science Monitor, and the Hurriyet Daily News reports the Cumhuriyet staffers (which in addition to journalists included a lawyer and a cartoonist) were charged with "committing crimes on behalf of" what the government describes as pro-Kurdish terror groups.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz sent the following tweets to express official opposition to the actions of the Turkish government (which continues to seek membership in the European Union):

Prime Minister Yildrim responded to Schulz's comments in an address to his party in the Turkish parliament, saying, "Brother, we don't care about your red line. It's the people who draw the red line. What importance does your line have." Yildirim added, "Turkey is not a country to be brought in line with salvoes and threats. Turkey gets its power from the people and would be held accountable by the people."

According to Christian Science Monitor:

Since July, 170 media outlets have been shut down and 105 journalists arrested, according to the general secretary of the Turkish Journalists' Association. Additionally, more than 700 journalists have had their press credentials revoked.

"Instead of moves to strengthen democracy we are faced with a counter coup," main opposition party leader Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu said after visiting Cumhuriyet. "We are faced with a situation where the coup has been used as an opportunity to silence society's intellectuals and mount pressure on media."

The attempted coup, which lasted less than a day, has led to the arrest of almost 37,000 people and the removal of over 100,000 from their jobs in government. But the Turkish government's assaults on the free press and free speech long pre-date the coup.

In the past year, two Cumhuriyet journalists were arrested for republishing Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, a Vice News reporter was imprisoned a Vice News reporter for 131 days, and the country's largest newspaper was seized by the government. Reports Without Borders has described Turkey "the world's biggest prison for journalists" and Columbia Journalism Review, called the country a "neo-authoritarian state."

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  1. They used the term red line because it was so successful for Obama and has such great connotations now.

    1. Don’t worry, it’s just a thin red line. What could go wrong?

      1. I never finished that movie. Moved too slow for me.

        1. The melanesian choir music in the film is gorgeous.


          1. Thanks for that. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of Melanesia and the polyphonic singing has been one of the high points. I saw the film when it came out but it was before my travels.

        2. I thought it was confusing. Sometimes I think Malick is trying to be too clever.

          1. Maybe I’ll give it another try. It’s my BIL’s favorite film.

          2. What part confused you? To me it was rather straightforward. Peaceful but loyal soldier. Glory hungry commander. Conflicted Platoon leader.

            1. The part where the Hulk’s dad and K C Jones killed Woody from cheers.

              1. I larfed. Also, the basketball coach is mean to Jesus.

          3. I thought it was confusing.

            It helps if you read the book, but not much.

            The book is a more or less straightforward historical fiction* that dwells on the differences of human character that emerge in the stress of combat. Malick takes the characters that Jones provided and tries to paint sort of a ‘psychological collage’, where you constantly jump between different people’s emotional perspective on what they’re dealing with.

            I read the book a few years after seeing the movie a few times. i liked the book more.

            1. I got James Jones “WWII Trilogy” for my Kindle for $3.99.

              I’m currently reading “From Here to Eternity”. The movie made major changes to the story to satisfy the Motion Picture Code and the Army which allowed filming to take place at Schofield Barracks. The Army wanted stuff which reflected badly* on them changed.

              “The Thin Red Line” will be next.

              *Stuff like the homosexuality and the brutality which the book shows as institutional but the movie shows as a “rogue prison guard” etc

  2. Europe: that bastion of freedom of expression and speech.

    1. Bingo! We have a winner!

  3. Anthony please, it’s “America’s close friend and ally Turkey”.

  4. So long as the paper didn’t publish Hate Speech, Turkey is way outta line!

  5. Fucking journalists! *spit*

    1. Oh please, they only spit for Republicans, they totally swallow for Democrats (and libertarians can’t even crack the friendzone)

  6. I remember when Erdogan lost his majority coalition in elections in, what was it, 2014? I thought it was best political development in Mideast in years, especially with Kurds being in the (winning) opposition and coming around to participating in civic structures of the country.

    So Erdogan went about short-circuiting the whole thing. That election, and the subsequent failure to form a government, will be remembered as the turning point for Turkey when historians – if its legal anywhere in the world by then to be an honest one – write obituary of that nation.

    1. This whole coup thing smells of a setup so they could do the purge they are doing today. I mean the guy now is demanding the death penalty for coup plotters. A convenient way to rid himself of both witnesses and political enemies.

      I wouldn’t be surprised the current admin wishes they could be doing the same…

    2. The victors will write the history. That’s why FDR and Woodrow Wilson are widely regarded as something other than complete and total catastrophes for this country despite their atrocious record on basically all counts.

      Erdogan will go down in history as either the second coming of Ataturk or as Turkey’s very own Josef Stalin. Whether or not he is eventually tossed from power will determine it.

  7. Religion; The belief that belief is fact.

    Also, rich coming from Martin “As far as I am concerned, Germany only exists to further the existence of the Jewish people” Schulz: Wew buddy, let’s thank the Master.

  8. Odd thing about those impassible red lines, they don’t seem to stop anything.

  9. I’m sure there’s a set of graphs that shows life is improving for the Turks. Publish those graphs and the Turks will feel better.

    1. It’s all about fealty.

  10. Damn man that must have been some Cosmo Halloween Party last night, no links till 9:45 and only 2 more articles so far after that?

    1. I sure hope so. What’s the point of working for a libertarian magazine if you can’t get blasted and slack off?

      1. Halloween is gauche and anyone over the age of twelve who celebrates it should feel ashamed.

        1. You have a ‘keep off the grass’ sign in your yard, don’t you?

          1. I also baggy dog waste and return it to the owner’s mailbox.

            1. Flaming or sans flames?

              1. I thought flaming was the only way to be a libertarian now. Ohhh… You mean fire. Carry on.

        2. I throw a Halloween party every year. People look forward to it because we do a different theme and activities each time. It’s a nice excuse to act like a kid again.

          1. In truth I’m okay with adult halloween parties. Costumes and decorations at work, not so much.

            1. That. Is. Seriously. Gay. Shit.

              1. The girls in my office went all out, plastered nearly every surface with decorations, and I’m pretty sure the fire marshall would not be happy about the amount of crap they hung from the drop ceiling.

            2. We seem to have a big work Halloween thing here at the hospital. People need to get more creative, though – nearly everyone comes as a doctor or a nurse.

          2. act like a kid again


            1. Well, for my guest to act like kids anyways. I never really grew up.

  11. Just replace “Erdogan” with “Trump” and “terror group” with “grope victim”. It’s the same thing.

  12. Islamic theocracies do such a great job of making the Religon of Peace look like so much fun.

    Why hasn’t the whole world hopped onboard?

    Because they’re haters. Haters of fun. Obviously.

    1. Teach me to dance with joy, Brian.

    2. Because like Puritans, they believe that religion is not meant to be fun, include fun, or even allow fun.

      I’ve never understood monotheistic religions. What’s the point of a single Supreme Being who hates the people he created while they live, but loves them after death, yet if any of them commit suicide to join the afterlife sooner, they are condemned to The Other Place?

      The Greek and Norse gods, on the other hand, seem much more believable to me. Pranksters, party lovers, short fuses, sense of humor extends only to making fun of humans and does not appreciate humans making fun of them. As far as I know, they never condemned humans for having fun. Them I could believe in.

      1. Hell some of em were all about humans partying till they puked, like Dionysous

        1. What about Bacchus?

          1. I saw that movie. It wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be.

            1. It wasn’t a movie Sparky. He’s the guy that played Thurston Howell and voiced the cartoon Mr. Magoo. It’s a common mistake.

      2. “Thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.”

        1. Anyone who can turn water into wine is invited to my party.

          1. Okay. As long as it isn’t bottled water. That shit can be as expensive as wine.

  13. Erdogan is one of the worst dictators in the world today. Fuck that Gollum-looking creep.

  14. Vice News reporter was imprisoned

    If something happens to Moynihan and I have listen to another Fifth Column podcast with a shitty comedian in Moynihan’s place I am not going to be happy. You’re on notice, Turkey.

    1. Don’t worry. If they jail Moynihan he’ll just turn into a pile of rats and slip through the bars.

    2. Come now, gumming jerky was pretty funny.

      1. Bit of an obvious punchline undeserving of its big reaction.

        *sips wine*

        1. UCS is having a terrible effect on these boards.

          *wanders upthread, complains about Halloween*

  15. I suspect obama will do something to try and shore up relations w/ Turkey before there’s a transfer of power.

    its sort of in limbo at the moment, and its a key “friends-not-friends”-ally that the US theoretically needs despite disliking Erdogan

    I noted the other day that the state dept suggested they might give up this dissident cleric character that’s living in exile in PA(?) right now.

    1. …theoretically needs…/i>

      I wonder at what point the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. I imagine that as Clinton seems bent on doing that Cold War thing again and muh Islamophobia(TM) Turkey’s increasing radicalization will be diligently ignored.

      1. I wonder at what point the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

        If we want to fly drones against ISIS, we need Turkish airspace and airfields. AND we need their intelligence services to be cooperative in the region. And if we want to stop them from getting into a war with their own Kurds/Iraqs Kurds ever at some point… we need to have leverage.

        They’re dicks, but we need them to be our dicks.

        1. I agree, in the current policy strategic paradigm, an alliance with Turkey is vital. Of course I question the paradigm as a whole and the wisdom of getting in bed with *another* autocrat for no other reason than great-gamesmanship.

          1. It would be preferable that the US withdraw entirely and just let Iraq get carved up already. A lot of blood and treasure is being squandered on propping up a failed state for no particular gain other than holding onto some overpriced prestige.

    2. Yeah but given Obama’s Foreign Police track record that something is likely to look like an overcomplicated plot by which we assasinate Edrogan and attempt to frame the Kurds for it and then use that as a basis to tell Edrogans successor that he has free reign to extract revenge on the Kurds only to have the whole house of cards come crashing down a few months later when emails detailing the whole affair are hacked and distributed by Wikileaks leaving us utterly without allies in that region and kicking off an even widerscale war as the Kurds are left with no choice but to fight for Independence and start cozying up to the Russians or Chineese for help in that fight against Turkey.

  16. “Brother, we don’t care about your red line. It’s the people who draw the red line. What importance does your line have?”

    Why do people keep making references to red lines that aren’t red lines.

    A red line is a line you can’t cross without serious consequences. Wasn’t Obama’s “red line” statement against Assad embarrassing enough?

    Street fight rule #1: Anyone who threatens you in a street fight is a pussy. If he weren’t a pussy, he wouldn’t threaten you. He’d just do it. So when some pussy threatens you, punch him in the face.

    If it’s a red line, there’s no need to make threats.

    If bombing Assad is justified because he used chemical weapons against his own people, then bomb him for it. If you’re not going to bomb him no matter what he does, then keep your empty threats to yourself. Otherwise, the threat of you bombing him becomes even less of a threat once you make the threat and don’t follow through. In fact, if Assad really started going after his own people after Obama failed to follow through on an empty threat, then a fat slice of the blame for that carnage belongs to Obama. Competent leadership matters!

    1. So when some pussy threatens you, punch him in the face.

      Maybe Trump was only referring to defending himself from pussies.

  17. In the case of the European Parliament, the red line threat is even more pathetic. What are they going to do, refuse to let Turkey join the EU? That deal is moot! Holy shit, Erdogan has already repeatedly threatened to release Turkey’s 2.5 million Syrian refugees to flood into the EU.


    The European Parliament better watch its mouth on empty threats, or they may cross Erdogan’s red line–and his red line is real.

  18. Euope’s mistake was drawing a red line. Now if they’d drawn a blue line, it would have been much more effective. Look at how unbreachable the thin blue line is here in the US.

  19. Pat Buchanan is looking better and better now. So is Ron Paul, but Pat is more articulate. They’ve both run for President on a foreign policy where the US minds it’s own fucking business. There could be Holocausts and Rwanda slaughters throughout the world and we don’t do shit about it. That’s a hard-to-swallow proposition.

    1. You are committing heresy against the religion of Do-somthingism.

  20. Obama weakened the strength of the red line as a threat.

  21. Its only a red line if there are consequences for crossing it.

    So, no, Turkey hasn’t crossed any red lines.

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