The bearable lightness of being ‘principled’

The bearable lightness of being ‘principled’

Apparently, the louder Turkey’s leaders talk of “principled foreign policy,” the faster we should count our spoons.

Here is a tiny, negligible parenthesis of the chronology of our virtuous, moral, unbiased, principled foreign policy:

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a friend of then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, flees to the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Kuala Lumpur following accusations of sodomy and corruption (June 2008).

Danish police begin investigating after a diplomat from the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen was found to be carrying a gun at court proceedings against a Kurdish broadcaster (September 2011).

“We deplore the sentencing of the former President of Egypt Mr. Mohamed Morsi… Arbitrary trials disregarding international standards, carried out since the military coup against a certain segment of the Egyptian people, increase suspicions concerning the objectivity of the verdict against former President Morsi and aggravate concerns about the future of democracy in Egypt.” - Press release No. 125 on the webpage of the Turkish embassy in Cairo (April 22, 2015).

“The death sentence about Mr. Morsi, pronounced as in the previous case, following legal proceedings which fell short of meeting international standards, is a new disgrace in the period that elapsed since the military coup… The verdict not only violates elected President Mr. Morsi[‘s] basic human rights, but will also not contribute in any way whatsoever to achieving a lasting societal peace and a sustainable state of stability, which are most needed as a matter of utmost urgency in Egypt… We expect the verdicts to be reconsidered and all the political prisoners to be released so as to contribute to the most needed stability and societal peace in Egypt.” - Press release No. 155 on the webpage of the Turkish embassy in Cairo (May 16, 2015).

“They made the courts rule under political pressure… They pushed every dissident into the underground… The ideal [solution] is to release Morsi so that he carries on with his political life.” - Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in an exclusive interview with A Haber (June 4, 2015).

“We call on the international community to act to withdraw these death sentences, given under the instructions of the coup regime, and to put an end to this path which could seriously endanger the peace of Egyptian society.” – President Erdoğan (June 16, 2015).

Bulgaria declares an attaché at the Turkish General Consulate in the Bulgarian coastal city of Burgas persona non grata. Bulgarian officials say the move is motivated by the attaché’s activities violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (Feb. 22, 2016).

“The situation of those who attended this hearing is very important. The consuls general in Istanbul come to the courthouse. Who are you, what are you doing there? This is not your country, this is Turkey… Diplomats can operate within the boundaries of missions. Elsewhere is subject to permission.” – President Erdoğan, condemning Western consuls general attending the espionage/terrorism trial of journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül (March 26, 2016).

Turkey sends a diplomatic note to the embassies of the eight consuls general who attended the trial of “spy/terrorist” journalists Dündar and Gül (March 28, 2016).

“Making verbal or written statements to create an illegal influence on person who conducts their judicial duty or who implements order in order to make him/her give a decision against the law is a crime.” - Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, in his own condemnation of the consuls general who attended the Dündar-Gül hearing (March 28, 2016). 

Borrowing author Julie Metz’s line, “hypocrisy has its own elegant symmetry.” It surely does in Turkish Islamist polity.