Turkish president’s spokesman slams Newsweek for article targeting Erdoğan

İbrahim Kalın, the spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has slammed a Newsweek article harshly criticising Erdoğan, calling it “one of the worst pieces on Turkey.”

“PKK and Gülenist/FETÖ propaganda presented as fact and ideological paranoia as analysis,” Kalın said in a tweet and said, “Now that the June 24 elections are over, is Newsweek calling for another coup attempt in Turkey?”

“FETÖ” is a derogatory term coined by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Erdoğan to refer to the Gülen movement.

US-based Newsweek magazine said in an article published on July 31 that “Consumed by the need for grandeur, despots tend to share their monstrous plans, then execute them. Running to be reelected in a race warped in his favor, Turkey’s President Erdoğan campaigned by demonizing minority Kurds to create a common enemy—as tyrants do.”

“In troubled times, people worship self-assured leaders, and Erdoğan sees himself as the anointed vessel of Ottoman resurrection. He allowed Islamic State to murder Kurds and unleashed his army on them. He must and can be stopped,” said the article authored by Jonathan Wachtel and Albert Wachtel.

Some excerpts from the article are as follows: 

The coup attempt on Erdogan long over, he ended his two-year-old state of emergency but keeps Turkey in his grip. He accuses American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who for more than 20 years has served a small community in İzmir, of “Christianization,” attacking Islam while supporting the coup and the PKK.

Seeking to overthrow Syrian President Assad, Erdogan allowed a highway of jihadist foreign fighters to transit Turkey, creating the incipient Islamic State and unleashing barbarous terrorism against any who were not fundamentalist Sunnis. With the Turkish military lolling, ISIS devastated Kurds in Syrian Kobani.

With U.S. air support, Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) liberated Kobani and led the fighting that defeated the Islamic State. Erdogan sees the PKK and YPG as one, and accused Assad of allowing the PKK to maintain camps near Turkey’s border, formerly a safe haven for refugees. Emboldened by Washington’s earlier decision not to protect its Kurdish allies in Iraq, Erdogan attacked Kurdish Afrin in northern Syria, killing, terrorizing and ultimately creating a massive refugee crisis.

He is now changing Afrin’s demographics by shipping in anti-Assad Syrian refugees from Turkey. He threatened to attack Kurds of Syrian Manbij, boasting that he would confront US troops there. Instead of standing strong, Washington stood down, a grave mistake with autocrats. The YPG had to withdraw, and Turkish media celebrated a victory over America.

Despite his alliance with Shiite Iran, Erdogan sees himself as the vanguard of Sunnis. He supports the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian terrorist wing Hamas, offending Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, which is in deadly conflict with Hamas.

He is intent on buying the F35, America’s stealth fighter, while playing off the purchase of NATO’s missile defense system against the best Russian one, which will become even better if Moscow gets its hands on an F35. At the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) meeting last week, Erdogan professed his desire to join those economic competitors of the West. If all this sounds irrational, that is because it is.

Turkish citizens abroad, like NBA player Enes Kanter, have spoken out against Erdogan’s repressive regime. They must be united in a campaign to turn the Turkish people against Erdogan.

The free world must not appease tyranny. America, as the planet’s most powerful nation, can offer crucial help. The US should join the 29 countries that have recognized the Armenian Genocide. Acquiescing to Ankara’s false denial encourages a related attack on the Kurds.

Turkey’s current economic problems will prove useful in containing Erdogan. However, if political purges and attacks on Kurds intensify, the West should stop lending to Turkey and place economic sanctions on key functionaries including him and his family.

The sooner the free world acts against Erdogan, the safer our world will be. Turkey must be transformed.

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