This really is a bipartisan challenge and I don’t mean a bunch of former congressmen from both parties but people like John Bolton and Dennis Ross. The Center for American Progress has backed this which is somewhat shocking considering it had a habit of insisting that Turkey was a model Muslim democracy.
CAP is hugely influential in Obama Inc, but I still expect absolutely nothing to come of this. Obama doesn’t stand up to Muslim tyrannies. He bows before them.
Still this does suggest that maybe the left is rethinking its knee jerk support for Turkey’s Islamist tyranny. That’s a step in the right direction.
More than 80 top foreign policy figures from across the political spectrum wrote President Obama Thursday and asked him to end the U.S. government’s tacit approval of what they describe as the anti-democratic actions of Turkish Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan and his government.
“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is increasingly undermining a central pillar of the decades-long, strategic U.S.-Turkish partnership: Turkey’s growing democracy,” reads the letter, organized by the right-leaning Foreign Policy Initiative, the left-leaning Center for American Progress, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Freedom House. “We are writing because of our deep dismay at this development and to urge you to make clear to the Turkish public America’s concern about Turkey’s current path. Silence will only encourage Prime Minister Erdoğan to diminish the rule of law in the country even further.”
The letter was signed by several former Obama administration officials including White House senior director Dennis Ross, State Department policy planning director Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Julianne Smith, an advisor to the Vice President. Republican signatories include Ambassador John Bolton, Sen. Norm Coleman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.
According to the experts and former officials, Obama has been turning a blind eye to Erdogan’s descent into autocracy. In their opinion, this alarming trend in Turkey has accelerated since last summer, when Turkish authorities used a heavy hand to disperse street protests and Erdogan denounced the protestors as “looters” while blaming foreign conspirators for the unrest.
Erdogan is also actively trying to cover up a huge corruption scandal which has engulfed his government since December, according to the letter. The Turkish Prime Minister has dismissed or reassigned thousands of prosecutors and police officers involved in the scandal, which ties Turkish government officials and even Erdogan’s son through shady business deals with Iran and al Qaeda.
The Erdogan govenrment has also imposed restrictions on internet freedom and freedom of the press. A new law would allow the government to block any website that has “insulting” content and Turkey still holds more journalists in prison than any other nation in the world.
Top Obama administration officials have made it very clear they have no intention of commenting, much less getting involved in Turkey’s internal turmoil. Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and promised Washington wouldn’t interfere.
“We did also talk about the importance of both of our commitments to rule of law and to democracy and to the process of both of our countries respecting each other’s political process,” said Kerry at the time. “And I think the minister understood and made it clear that the United States of America has absolutely no interest in being caught up in or engaged in or involved in the internal politics, the election process of Turkey. And we are not.”
Kerry’s statements are absolutely outrageous, but not surprising, though ridiculously hypocritical in light of Obama Inc’s interference in Egypt.
The Center for American Progress’ backing of this report is interesting considering whose bed they were in last year.
Days before Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed in Washington, D.C., for a series of high profile meetings, an influential liberal think tank with ties to the White House released a report that highlighted its cozy relationship with wealthy foreign benefactors from Turkey.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) issued a report, “Freedom of the Press and Expression in Turkey,” on May 14 that critics say downplays the Turkish government’s increasingly authoritarian crackdown on press freedoms.
CAP did not disclose in the report that it receives money from a Turkish business group named TUSKON. The organization has donated at least $25,000 to CAP in order to gain entrance into its exclusive Business Alliance, according to the Nation.
The report was funded in part by the Turkish branch of billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. However, CAP’s ties to TUSKON went unmentioned.
“A former CAP staffer told me that TUSKON had ‘amazing access’ and ‘could call anyone in the government and get us a meeting or interview,’ Silverstein wrote. “As a result of the Turkish group’s support, CAP was ‘totally in the tank for them.’”
TUSKON is also a known affiliate of the Gulen movement, whose charismatic spiritual leader, Fethullah Gulen, has come under fire for spreading his Islamist theology across the globe.
So the Center for American Progress has now joined the Gulen movement in turning on Erdogan. It’s interesting to see who is pulling the strings in an organization that is considered the dominant think tank in Obama Inc.