All is fair to sustain Erdogan’s reign

Pinar Tremblay July 11, 2019 – Article Summary – al monitor – In a tightly controlled media environment where any critical voice is promptly labeled as terrorist, how did a notorious PKK member on the most wanted list appear as a guest on Turkish state TV?

The Washington Post published July 3 a piece penned by one of the founding members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). In the article, Cemil Bayik explained the Kurdish yearning for peace. Within hours, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin provided a searing written denunciation. Kalin criticized the newspaper, writing, “The Washington Post is openly engaged in terrorist propaganda by providing space for a terrorist on their pages.”

Kalin continued that both the United States and the European Union has the PKK listed as a terrorist organization and that the United States has issued a reward for the arrest of Bayik. Therefore, Kalin concluded that the Post had acted against US laws.

Opposition members and the public found Kalin’s comments rather odd. This could have been a routine announcement had it not been for a rather controversial event that took place June 21.

Only a few weeks, before the op-ed in the Post, Turkey’s state-owned Kurdish-language TV channel TRT Kurdi aired an interview with Osman Ocalan, a former PKK commander and the younger brother of the PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan, in which he called on the Kurds in Turkey to remain impartial in the Istanbul municipal election rerun on June 23. In the interview, Ocalan said that opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu had not made any specific promises to the Kurds.
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