The Conversation

The Obama-Erdogan bromance

Back when Barack Obama first ran for President, he and his followers assured us that his election would restore love and respect for American around the world.  To put it mildly, things haven't worked out that way.  And it's not just because of Obama's foreign policy blunders, or America's enemies moving to take advantage of an Administration so weak that it can't even admit when it's been attacked, cooking up wild fantasies about "spontaneous protests" and evil YouTube videos instead.  Despite all that swooning praise from supporters for his vast personal charm, this President hasn't connected at a personal level with many foreign leaders - certainly not nearly as well as George W. Bush did.

In fact, with Hugo Chavez gone, the only foreign leader Obama seems to click with is Recep Erdogan, the strongman of Turkey.  Take a look at this article from Michael Rubin at Commentary and see if you can guess why:

It is near impossible to talk politics with Turkish journalists before everyone at the table first takes batteries out of their cell phones. The judiciary has been tapped, as have newspapers.  

Erdogan has stacked previously apolitical bodies with his own party hacks, and transformed technocratic institutions to wield against the press. He has had them, for example, levy fines of billions of dollars to silence some outfits, and seized and sold at auction another. The sole bidder (after others dropped out because of political pressure)? Erdogan’s son-in-law.

The newspaper Rubin refers to, Sabah, used to be an opposition paper.  But now that it's been given to Erdogan's son-in-law, it's much more friendly to the regime.  In fact, it just ran a guest editorial of swooning praise written by... President Barack Obama.

"Erdogan cares little about democracy," judges Rubin.  "He wishes domination, personal enrichment, and a complete transformation of Turkish society that is impossible to achieve if anyone can ask questions or expose his actions."

No wonder he's got the respectful attention of Barack Obama.  The Associated Press is lucky it hasn't been seized and given to Obama's daughters yet.



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