Monday, August 1, 2011

Opportunism amid tragedy

While everyone else* has been praising Norway's compassionate, measured response to the horrific massacre it recently endured, some Turkish officials have been appallingly quick to try and use the deadly attacks for their own political gain.

EU Minister Egemen Bağış -- a man a Turkish colleague joked is considered "the village idiot" amongst his European peers -- was first out of the gate, essentially arguing less than a week after the bloody deaths of 76 people that the tragedy could have been prevented if only stubborn old Europe had seen the error of its ways sooner and let Turkey join its club.

"The seeds of hatred and racism that have triggered these attacks can be destroyed by Turkey’s EU membership," Bağış told the semi-official Anatolia news agency. "[The] EU cannot ignore its responsibility by solely condemning the attacks or releasing messages of sorrow."

Even while purportedly expressing his condolences to Norway, the minister apparently couldn't help but get in another dig -- this one at Norway itself for allegedly not taking seriously enough demonstrations led by supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, during a visit by the Turkish prime minister. "We have seen the point this tolerance has reached today," Bağış said.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç jumped on the bandwagon Thursday, raising the specter of confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik's Internet-acquired bomb-making skills to defend an online filtering plan that has been roundly criticized as an infringement on free expression.

Opposition parties, usually quick to denounce any perceived slight by government officials, thus far seem to be letting these blatant bits of political opportunism slide.

* Admittedly, I'm really only following the Turkish news these days. Any bad behavior been spotted among politicians from other countries in response to the Norway attacks? Or have any Turkish news outlets called Bağış and Arınç out on their comments?


TurkoAmericano said...

Bill O'Reilly deployed the "No True Scotsman" fallacy and denied Breivik was Christian. This after years of refuting anyone who claimed that terrorist weren't real muslims. Kinda predictable.

The Turkish Life said...

Yeah, I guess we can always count on folks like him for such comments... Sad.

Barbara said...

I always take solace in the fact that most of these comments are uttered in Turkish, a language almost no one speaks outside Turkey and the immediate region, and so I hope (maybe incorrectly, but I hope nonetheless) that these types of comments aren't picked up on by international media and shared with the rest of the world. I would imagine that other countries' leaders are just as dumb and half-witted as Turkey's and they say the same kind of stuff; it's just that it stays in their local media. Unfortunately for Turkey, as the world media becomes more attuned to political events here, more and more people are seeing just how pompous and unintelligent the country's leaders are.

TurkoAmericano said...

Even worse was The Post's Jennifer Rubin who immediately claimed the attack was the work of Al Qaeda and then used it to argue against defense cuts. It was breathtakingly stupid.