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Rohrabacher: Erdogan Must Reverse Crackdown in Turkey

Jan 7, 2015

WASHINGTON – Concerning Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent sweeping arrests of journalists and political critics, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, released the following statement:

"Turkey has long been our friend and ally, the bridge between the West and the East and, as such, an important go-between by which to mediate our differences and find common interests with the Muslim world. It has been a model of a modern, democratic state among Islamic countries.

"President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent years has steadily placed that relationship into doubt, as he has eroded democratic values in his own country and proven an unsure bulwark against Islamist terrorism in the region. Last weekend's massive crackdown on journalists and other critics of the Erdogan government have dramatically worsened prospects for a workable relationship with Turkey.

"I call on President Erdogan to release, immediately, those of his critics now being held in jail. He must understand that his authoritarian behavior signals to the world, not his strength and political popularity, but his growing weakness and desperation as a leader. He will find himself horribly disappointed if he imagines his show of political suppression will appease and mollify the Islamist extremists, such as ISIS, who have used Turkey as a passageway to Iraq. 

"Erdogan's brutal crackdown betrays the promise of a modern Turkey in which its cosmopolitan people enjoy the personal freedoms necessary for a strong social, political, and economic order, indeed an order in which the virtues and prosperity historically associated with Islam can flourish. If he persists in the course so startlingly on display these last days, he will find himself one of history's abject losers. He needs to return to those principles of a free and open society that he advocated when first elected by the Turkish people a decade ago."