Steve Russell: Rumblings from a world leader with odd views

President Barack Obama hosts a meeting with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a NATO summit in September 2014. Photo from Glenn Fawcett / Department of Defense / Flickr

Judge and professor Steve Russell finds some more questionable actions coming out of Turkey, courtesy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan:
Turkey used to be the only majority Muslim nation that appeared to get the separation of mosque and state right. Now, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there are rumblings of reestablishing the Caliphate. Erdoğan was last ridiculed in these pages for claiming the Taino people in the Caribbean discovered a Muslim before they discovered Columbus.

Sedef Kabaş, a talking head on Turkish television, noticed a corruption prosecution being dropped because it was getting too high in the government. She tweeted, “Never forget the name of this man. The prosecutor who decided on non-prosecution over the December 17 investigation is Hadi Salihoğlu.”

For this tweet, the English-only Turkish newspaper Zaman reported, the police raided her home, confiscated her computer, and she is now facing five years imprisonment for “threatening” Salihoğlu. Erdoğan himself made the news when he attacked a Turkish newspaper, Cumhuriyet, for reprinting some of the cartoons from Charlie Hebdo. This tongue lashing was delivered after Erdoğan’s government sent Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to the solidarity march in Paris, a bigger big shot than the United States sent to condemn the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

These challenges to both democracy and secularism come as Turkey strains the NATO alliance by refusing to aid the fight against the so-called Islamic State, which claims to have reestablished the Caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is no Atatürk, but he was, in fact, elected. He has tried to censor Twitter, an effort that got him only a Twitterstorm of ridicule. He’s been an outspoken opponent of women’s equality. He still maintains that American Indians discovered Muslims before they discovered European Christians. The day will come when Erdoğan comes after Zaman.

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