Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in an odd mood: He is trying to convince the international community that he is not Hitler. Most recently, Erdogan’s government ordered Google to de-list more than 40 URLs that reported about the Turkish government’s recent crackdown on journalists and other critics that compared Turkey’s president to Hitler.
Instead of trying to silence the global voice against his increasingly autocratic governance, and oppressing millions who do not respect him, he could try to earn respect by having a little mercy on dissidents. That is probably too much to expect from someone who once infamously said that “If you pity you will be pitied”.
In the aftermath of a failed coup against his government in July 2016, Erdogan has dismissed 150,000 public employees, citing their alleged links with Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric in self-exile in Pennsylvania, whom Erdogan claims was the mastermind behind the attempted putsch. The Ankara government also has arrested more than 50,000 people on the same charges.
Although there has been no ruling so far that Gulen was, in fact, the mastermind behind the attempted coup, 150,000 people have been purged, and they, their families and perhaps a million Turks are decrying Erdogan’s unjust behavior. The victims are not only the “Gulenists”: The purge has targeted a wide spectrum of dissidents including anti-Islamist leftists of different views. In just one week in May, Turkey’s Interior Ministry said, 1,284 suspects were detained in “counter-terrorism raids”.
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