FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Kafka in Turkey: Will Tariq Ali and Onur Erem be Prosecuted for Calling Erdogan a “Tinpot Dictator”?

Tariq, I wanted to inform you that the interview we made with you after the Ankara massacre is under prosecution here in Turkey. The prosecutors office started an investigation claiming that “tin-pot dictator” is an insult against President Erdogan. They’re calling me for my defense within seven days. For now only I am under investigation but in the future they may start an investigation against you, as well.

From my experience, I can tell that the prosecutor is likely to open a court case after the investigation, because I have another court case for “insulting the president” pending. That case was because I reported on the results of Google Autocomplete, which brings Erdogan and AKP when you start typing “hırsız katil” (which means “thief and liar”). For that case, the prosecutor wants 4 years and 8 months of prison time. For our interview, it will be most likely the same.

For publicizing the prosecution and getting support in my case, I’d like to ask you a few more questions .–Onur Erem

Onur Erem: Have you ever been under prosecution or trial because of what you’ve written or said?

Tariq Ali: No.

Onur Erem: During interviews with foreign press, Erdogan dismisses the criticisms and tells that he’s not a dictator. Most recently when a Finnish journalist asked him “Some people call you a dictator, what do you think about these criticisms” he replied: “If I was a dictator, you couldn’t ask me this question” Now there’s a prosecution because you said “he began acting like a tin-pot dictator”. What do you think about this prosecution? What are your opinions on the debate about if he’s a dictator or not?

Tariq Ali: Perhaps he was upset that I called him a “tinpot” dictator which implies that he’s an ineffective dictator. As for his reply to the Finnish journalist it simply reveals his ignorance. In the recent past many dictators have answered even tougher questions.

Onur Erem: President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu often claims that the press is completely free in Turkey. What do you think about this joke? For example, what would happen to you if you called David Cameron a dictator in UK?

Tariq Ali: They are humorists wanting to elicit a cheap laugh. Nothing would happen to me if I called Cameron a dictator, except my friends would wonder whether if I was losing my mind.

Onur Erem: Do you have any message to the prosecutor?

Tariq Ali: Yes. Please forgive me for using the word ‘tinpot’. In fact, Erdogan is an elected dictator whose war frenzy at home and abroad has deestabilised Turkey and created fear, which helped him win the elections.

Onur Erem: If the prosecutor opens a court case, would you come to testify in the court?

Tariq Ali: ‪Er, could we do it on Skype?

Onur Erem writes for BirGun newspaper.

More articles by:

Tariq Ali is the author of The Obama Syndrome (Verso).

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
David Yearsley
Bogart Weather
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail