By Barry Rubin
Why is it that Anthony Shadid, the same New York Times reporter who has constantly whitewashed Syria and Hizballah now writing a glowing portrait of Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Erdogan on the verge of Turkey’s June 12 election?
Shadid frequently quotes only pro-Hizballah sources in his articles on Lebanon without mentioning their political views but giving them cover under a variety of misleading affiliations, including a think tank that doesn’t actually exist.
Erdogan has led Turkey out of its 65-year-long alliance with America; allied with Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah; fundamentally transformed Turkish society; taken over or intimidated the media; presided over massive repression, including the arrests of many journalists on trumped-up charges; and is seeking to destroy Israel and make Turkey the closest possibleapproximation to an Islamist state.
Once he is reelected, if that happens, he will go much further in destroying Turkish democracy. If he has a two-thirds’ majority he will rewrite Turkey’s constitution. In short, he is an enemy of the United States and of democracy while being a friend to its foes.
Yet the Times‘ profile, and much other media coverage, makes him and his regime sound wonderful. The New York Times followed this up as another profile appeared now praising Turkish Islamist leader Fathi Gulen!
As a Turkish friend put it some months ago, such people aren’t just fools, they are on the enemy side.
Yet Erdogan is unhappy with the coverage, even though it has been overwhelmingly supportive of him and his party. When The Economist–a magazine not noted for its friendship toward Israel–actually called on Turks to support the opposition, Erdogan exploded:
“The international media, because they are backed by Israel, wouldn’t be happy with the continuation of the AK Party government,” Erdogan said, according to Turkey’s official news agency.
At first glance, this is nonsense. But think about that second glance. Remember when Turkey’s leadership was modern, pro-Western, enlightened, even European! Today, the prime minister of Turkey, the country’s most powerful politician, openly spouts antisemitic hatred and nobody even seems to notice.
Let me repeat that: The prime minister of Turkey and his government are openly spreading antisemitism (for those who don’t know what that means it refers to the systematic hatred of Jews). A large dossier could be assembled on this point. It would include the antisemitic website backed by the Education Ministry, officially sponsored billboards, and much more.
Might this disturb Western governments or the international media that is–according to Erdogan–controlled by the Jews? Obviously not.
When I say that this regime is destroying Turkey, dragging it backwards, moving toward Islamism, is essentially antisemitic and anti-American, and undermining Turkish democracy that is no exaggeration.
And that’s what they’re doing before the election. Imagine what they’ll do after they win and especially if they get to rewrite the country’s constitution.
[Optional joke: Maybe Erdogan’s complaint referred to Rubin Reports since that’s about the only publication I’ve seen that calls for the electoral downfall of his terrible, repressive, stealth Islamist regime.]
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/ His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is http://www.gloria-center.org. His PajamaMedia columns are mirrored and other articles available at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/.