Since the October 2 murder of Saudi Muslim Brotherhood political activist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been condemning the perpetrators of the “ferocious murder,” vowing that his government would “uncover what has happened” and portraying himself as a champion of human rights.
During a press conference at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, Erdogan said:
“Through our intelligence organization, we have already informed the whole world of this incident [Khashoggi’s death] and are still doing so. Particularly the American media and the Western media are following this matter and our intelligence organization answers all of their requests and conveys all required information to them.”
This statement is tragically two-faced for several reasons. The first is that the Turkish government is the world’s largest jailer and killer of journalists — so much so that every year, April 6 is commemorated by Turkey’s Journalists Association (TGC) as the “Day of Murdered Journalists”. The event was initiated on April 6, 1909, when the first murder of a Turkish journalist, Hasan Fehmi, took place for criticizing the government. The Platform of Solidarity with Arrested Journalists (TGDP) reported that between 1909 and 2012 — in 103 years — 112 journalists and writers were murdered in Turkey.