August 03, 2016

Earth To Turkey: Maybe Take It Down A Notch?

Council of Europe’s Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland is visiting Turkey this week, making him the most senior European official to visit since last month’s attempted coup. Jagland has the uncomfortable job of breaking the news to Turkish President Erdogan: these anti-coup measures – like detaining 18,000 or sacking over 70,000 people from their jobs – maybe went a smidge too far. Trying not to make it too awkward, Jagland stood next to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and told the media that the coup attempt had been “outrageous.” But then he reminded them that democracy must continue to be the name of the game, adding, “but is is important that this is done in conformity with the rule of law and the standards in the European convention on human rights and the case law of the Court of Human Rights.” 

How did Turkey take the news?

Jagland received a warm welcome at first, despite arriving just after President Erdogan accused the West of supporting terrorism against Turkey. It’s unlikely Erdogan will slow down any time soon. He’s already moved to the sports and entertainment sector, where he fired nearly 100 people, including referees, from the Turkish football federation. (In Erdogan’s defense though, haven’t you always wanted to fire a referee for a bad call?) Europe and the US may insist that Turkey returns to more democratic methods of handling the coup, but those requests will fall on deaf ears if the US continues to harbor the exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen. 

For more news, read today’s Pnut here

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