The erosion of civil liberties in Turkey continues. Via Meadia recently pointed to the government’s increasingly heavy-handed prosecution and imprisonment of members of the press. A recent Financial Times (registration required) piece brings word that the country’s prosecutors have begun going after the chief opposition leader on very shaky grounds:
The move came in response to statements made last November by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party, after he visited inmates in Turkey’s Silivri prison, according to TRT, the country’s state-owned broadcaster.On that occasion, Mr Kilicdaroglu compared the prison to a concentration camp and said he “could not stomach” describing Turkey’s legal authorities as judges. He has made similar remarks in recent days.TRT said the Silivri prosecutors office had begun a probe into Mr Kilicdaroglu for “seeking to influence a fair trial” and “insulting a public official”.
Out of power, the AK party in Turkey portrayed itself as committed to civil liberties and the rule of law. Its record since taking power has left some of its longtime supporters feeling queasy. People all over the world are watching to see whether Turkey’s Islamist party can combine Islamic piety and democratic values. Via Meadia hopes the experiment will work, but the situation in Turkey is not trending well. This is one of those stories we continue to follow.