Post Editorial Board
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Turkish Thug Aims to SILENCE an American’s TWEETS
Post Editorial Board
Not content with having his thugs beat up US citizens on US soil, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now ordered Twitter to suppress the speech of another American citizen, American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin.
Rubin’s been tweeting up an anti-Erdogan storm, and in Turkish, too. The famously thin-skinned strongman won’t have it: He’s had his (recently purged) courts order the social-media firm to shut down Rubin’s feed, or else.
“Rubin’s illogical accusations and insulting tweets are not only a reflection of his hatred and anger toward President Erdogan but also against the Turkish Republic,” goes the despot’s complaint.
Hmm. He could mean the one last month that translates in English: “To support Erdogan is not to support Islam or Turkish dignity. Supporting Erdogan means supporting corruption and Turkey’s collapse.”
That cuts right at the autocrat’s ego, and at his chief excuse for being above criticism.
Another Rubin tweet noted that the tyrannical Turk is using last year’s coup attempt as an excuse to “purge society of political and ideological opponents.”
Both tweets are 100 percent accurate, but the Turkish courts slavishly agree that Rubin’s truth-telling violates Erdogan’s personal rights.
Twitter so far hasn’t bowed — realizing, presumably, that letting dictators censor its users would be toast for its business model. Just what repercussions Ankara has in mind for the company, only time will tell.
The strongman has already restricted Twitter in the past — when tweets about his corruption were trending in 2014, for example. That actually prompted Erdogan to talk of an across-the-board shutdown of social media.
“We will wipe out all of these,” he said. “The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is.”
Sadly, Erdogan & Co. have met with some success in censoring critics in the West. Notably, German Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed the prosecution of a comic over a satirical video insulting Erdogan in Germany, under an old law banning insults to foreign leaders.
Nor has the Turkish president yet paid a price for letting his bodyguards beat up US demonstrators in Washington, DC, last month.
“It’s a test case for Twitter,” Rubin said, “because there are a lot of journalists in exile who have taken to Twitter. If Twitter were to cave to this, it would have a chilling effect on diaspora journalism, not just with regard to Turkey.”
In fact, it’s a test case for all social media — because nothing’s more anti-social than the diktats of tyrants like Turkey’s.