Nearly forgotten was the visit to the White House by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. With all of the turmoil focused on additional missteps by Donald Trump, the dictator’s visit went mostly unnoticed.
Although Turkey is officially a ‘democracy,’ and a member of NATO, during the last several years Erdogan made numerous efforts to take complete control of the nation’s government. He has jailed tens of thousands of his adversaries, and consolidated power. His recent reelection remains covered in controversy. But that didn’t stop Trump from calling him to offer his congratulations, and invite him to meet in the Oval Office.
How would John McCain have dealt with the dictator? We have a hint, based upon what he said about events at the Turkish Ambassador’s residence.
A small crowd of protesters appeared outside of the complex where Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States resides, and were quickly confronted by guards. Use of unnecessary violence resulted in two arrests and nine individuals receiving physical injuries. This was unacceptable to John McCain.
“I’d throw the Turkish ambassador out,” the lawmaker said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
McCain followed up his comments with a tweet.
“This is the United States of America. We do not do this here. There is no excuse for this kind of thuggish behavior,” he tweeted.
In 2013, the resistance to Erdogan’s ambitions began with a dispute regarding what Istanbul residents labeled the “last patch of green in the city.” Gezi Park was to be demolished which would allow construction of new businesses in the disputed area.
Protesters gathered, and as their numbers increased, adjacent Taksim Square began to fill up with men and women from a diverse population enjoyed by the city. The police responded with attacks of tear gas and water cannons. The protests continued for several days.
Gezi Park was a symbol. Erdogan had begun the establishment of sections of sharia law. He forbade the consumption of alcohol; demanded that women reject western clothing; and made it unlawful to display physical affection in public.
Istanbul is primarily Muslim, but its population is a cross section of the people of the world. At one time Istanbul was considered to be the ‘most cosmopolitan city on the planet.’
After a controversial ‘coup’ in 2016, Erdgoan began his efforts to take complete control of his nation in earnest.
Would McCain have refused to meet with Erdogan? I believe so. However, Trump praises dictators and minimizes the relationships long-established with our allies.
This is your illegitimate president; a wannabe autocrat who dismisses the authority of others and ignores the American people.
by James Turnage
Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey
Follow me on twitter; @jamesturnagenov