Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took offence at US and EU for criticizing him over a crackdown, on press freedoms under his rule. On Monday Erdogan lashed out at the West for giving Turkey “lessons in democracy”.
He said in a meeting of the Turkish Red Crescent in Ankara that. “Those who attempt to give us lessons in democracy and human rights must first contemplate their own shame.”
Erdogan comments came after US President Obama said on Friday that it was “no secret” he was troubled by “some trends” within Turkey. “I think the approach they have been taking toward the press is one that could lead Turkey down a path that would be very troubling,” said Obama.
Recently Erdogan’s government has seized the control of major opposition media groups and newspapers and also brought legal cases against hundreds of journalists, lawmakers, academics, lawyers and NGOs.
Two journalists from the leading opposition daily Cumhuriyet face life in prison. The two were arrested after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan filed a complaint against them, for revealing state secrets over a story accusing the government of seeking to illicitly deliver arms to rebels in Syria.
In the recent crackdown, Turkish authorities have seized the country’s biggest newspaper, Zaman, and removed its editor-in-chief.
Erdogan said that he was “saddened” that his American counterpart Obama has criticised him behind his back. He said he had pointed out in other meetings on his trip to Washington that there was press freedom in Turkey, saying that some publications had branded him a “thief” and a “killer” without being shut down. “Such insults and threats are not permitted in the West,” he claimed.
Earlier Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone conversation that he was
unhappy about the raft of stories criticizing Erdogan in German media in recent weeks.
Davutoglu complained such publications “were incompatible with freedom of the press” and said there should be an end
to the publication of such “unacceptable” material, he office said.