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This exchange is embarrassing for the Ambassador

Reader comment on item: A Frank Exchange of Views with Turkey's Ambassador to Israel

Submitted by Ugur S. (United States), Feb 28, 2017 at 12:14

I am a Turkish-American who loves his country of birth. I have never supported Mr. Erdogan but I respected the choice of the Turkish voters who elected him in the past. Now I believe that Mr. Erdogan is the biggest menace to Turkish democracy, I sincerely hope that he is removed from power, preferably by legitimate means.

I didn't support the July 15 coup attempt because I believe that it is difficult to re-establish democracy in Turkey by using anti-democratic and illegitimate means such as a coup. While I don't believe that Fethullah Gulen organized the July 15 coup single-handedly, Gulen followers seem to have been involved in the coup attempt and that makes me nervous about the possible consequences of that coup if it had been successful. Fethullah Gulen and Tayyip Erdogan are very similar in many ways. These two are both power-hungry ambitious people who are not qualified to run a country. They both have a disdain for democracy and the rule of law. They both have a habit of using the language of democracy and human rights to work to undermine democracy in Turkey. They are both exploiters of religion who are in reality morally bankrupt people. I fear that the July 15 coup could have easily been hijacked by the Gulenists. The results would then have been exactly the same as what we have seen since the coup: Wide scale purges of people, numerous people being jailed and the elimination of democracy. I dare say that the majority of the purges would have targeted the very same people, leftists and secularists. To sum it up, I opposed to coup for its illegitimacy as well as my suspicion that it wouldn't have brought the democracy that we all have been hoping for.

As far as this exchange you had with the ambassador. I totally agree with you. What is absolutely embarrassing is that he does not even seem to realize how ridiculous his stance was to everyone in the room at that moment. Mr. Erdogan managed to convince even his opponents that supporting the coup is the same as being a member of a terrorist organization. I am ashamed that you cannot visit Turkey because of your views. It makes absolutely no sense. Let alone the fact that you pose no security threat to Turkish citizens, your views (even if I don't completely agree with them) are perfectly legitimate and well within the bounds of free speech. If you would be arrested simply for voicing those views means your arrest would be solely for the purpose of silencing dissent. Since no one can make the argument that your voicing those views would put Turkish people at risk of a terrorist attack, I fail to see the reasoning behind it. There is no other explanation. Mr. Ambassador is either too brain-washed to ignore this simple conclusion or he has no choice but to voice this ridiculous reasoning in order to keep his job. I am embarrassed to see that he is representing my country.

I apologize to you on behalf of the millions of Turkish people who don't support Erdogan. If I were in charge, you would be welcome in Turkey anytime even if I didn't agree with your views.


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