Does a brutal regime that occupies the territory of an EU member state and supports terrorists really belong in NATO?
Fact checkers and truth squads are the media's latest tool for blurring the line between the editorial page and the new page. The ubiquitous fact checks are editorializing dressed up as verification. While on some occasions there are actual facts to verify, for the most part the fact checks defend a partisan liberal viewpoint on a particular issue.
So no sooner did Rick Perry suggest that Turkey had no place in NATO and that some perceive its government to be run by Islamic terrorists than the media rolled out its fact checks. In the spirit of fact checking the fact checkers, let's have a fact check of our own.
CNN Statement: "Turkey is not ruled by Islamic terrorists. It is led by a party with Islamist roots, the Justice and Freedom Party, or AKP."
Those are the facts according to CNN's Truth Squad, which took its name from a certain book by George Orwell. But let's look at the actual facts.
The Facts: The AKP emerged out of a series of banned Islamist political movements. CNN's Lie Squad mentions that the AKP's current leader of Turkey Erdogan was banned for reading an Islamic poem in public. It neglects to mention the content of the poem.
"The minarets are our bayonets; the domes are our helmets. Mosques are our barracks, the believers are soldiers. This holy army guards my religion. Almighty, Our journey is our destiny, the end is martyrdom."
It also neglects to mention the context in which it was read, at protests that were being conducted by Islamists after their Welfare Party was disqualified. Erdogan was not jailed for reading an Islamic poem, he was jailed for reading a poem calling for a violent Islamic overthrow of the government.
Erdogan was specifically convicted of "inciting hatred based on religious differences." There's quite a difference between noting that Erdogan was convicted of Islamic bigotry and just writing that he was convicted for reading an Islamic poem. Would CNN write equally vaguely that David Irving was put on trial for writing a book?
What exactly was the Welfare Party? It was an Islamist party under Prime Minister Erbakan, Erdogan's Islamist predecessor. Erbakan gave some of his thoughts to the press a few years ago in which he explained that the Jews run the world, organized the Crusades, control all the money and created the Protestant Church.
The AKP's leaders emerged out of Erbakan's Milli Görüs based movements. Another group that emerged out of Milli Görü is IHH which has been designated as a terrorist group by the United States government and has ties to Al Qaeda. Erdogan maintains close ties to IHH and his son is a member.
Erdogan has his own Al Qaeda connections. Yasin Al-Qadi, who funneled millions to Al Qaeda is a close friend and though his assets have been frozen worldwide, he enjoys a safe haven in Turkey. The co-founder of the AKP party, Erdogan's senior and advisor and right hand man, Cuneyt Zapsu gave Al Qaeda a mere 300,000 dollars.
Mohammed Fatih al-Hassanein, the head of an Al Qaeda front charity who helped shelter Bin Laden, met privately with Erdogan and the local Al Qaeda franchise has an office in Turkey where it puts out its propaganda magazine.
So while technically Erdogan and Gul are not going out and planting bombs, they have close ties to those who do and they support them. Islamist parties have gone two routes. They have infiltrated the political system when possible and when impossible they have turned to terrorism. Erdogan's poem made it quite clear that he was contemplating the latter. Had the AKP not succeeded then Erdogan might be giving orders to plant bombs in public places. Since it didn't he instead supports terrorist groups like Hamas.
Is it inaccurate to say that Turkey is ruled by people perceived by some as Islamic terrorists? Some inside Turkey even perceive the AKP that way. Can AKP leaders be described as Islamic terrorists? A co-founder and a board member of the AKP is an Al Qaeda donor. Erdogan protected a leading Al Qaeda moneyman who was designated as a terrorist by just about every government and law enforcement agency on the planet.
Responding to Perry the Turkish Foreign Ministry sneered that Turkey had been in NATO when Perry was two years old. Which is a nice line, but that Turkey no longer exists. Erdogan's AKP controlled system has purged the military with the claim the claim of a vast conspiracy that makes Stalin's Moscow Trials seem credible. Comparing the Turkey of then to the present day is like comparing the Germany which joined the League of Nations in 1926 to Adolf Hitler's Germany. Turkey still has the same name, but it is no longer the same country, instead it's an Islamic empire.
Finally does Turkey belong in NATO? Aside from its terrorist flirtations, there is Turkey's continued occupation of Cyprus. The Republic of Cyprus is an EU member, a third of whose territory is occupied by Turkish settlers. Turkish ethnic cleansing of the native peoples of Cyprus remains a blot on NATO along with the numerous other atrocities that have been carried out and continued to be carried out by the Turkish state.
In addition to Turkey's genocide of Armenians, there is its continued repression of its Kurdish population. The Turkish state holds tens of thousands of political prisoners, many of them for the mere crime of speaking their native language. Turkish forces have repeatedly invaded Iraqi Kurdistan, massacring the civilian population and are even suspected of using chemical weapons.
Hundreds of Kurdish children sit in Turkish jail for merely participating in political protests. The members of a Kurdish children's choir which visited San Francisco and sang a Kurdish folk song were put on trial. Their choir director has an arrest warrant still out for her and remained in the United States.
Does a brutal regime that oppresses its own population, occupies the territory of an EU member state and supports terrorists belong in NATO?
Is there any reasonable person who is not a member of the press or a diplomat who really thinks that it does? Take a look at a list of NATO members like Canada, the United States, Portugal, Norway and Turkey... and see which one doesn't belong on that list.
The only reason why Turkey became part of NATO was because of Cold War strategic geography. But the Soviet Union is gone and today's Turkey is aligned with Iran and other Islamic states that we are likely to end up fighting one day.
While the media continues claiming that the AKP is moderate, its own history and alliances show otherwise. Moderate governments do not stack jails full of political prisoners, they do not conduct an occupation of an EU member state, they do not make common cause with terrorists or endorse Islam over the rights of all citizens.
Telling the truth about Erdogan and the AKP is about more than condemning a gang of Islamst thugs who have used Saudi money to seize control of what was once the most modern Muslim country. It is also about affirming the rights of its victims, the native people of Cyprus, and the Armenians and the Kurds. It is about standing up for the values of freedom and democracy over the terror and tyranny of a man who wants to turn Turkey into another Iran.
CNN along with the New York Times and much of the rest of the media has chosen to repeat the same tiresome lies. Maybe for once their fact checks should actually involve using the facts.
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