Turkish government furious over The Times’ celeb ad condemning Gezi crackdown

Turkish government furious over The Times’ celeb ad condemning Gezi crackdown

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Turkish government furious over The Times’ celeb ad condemning Gezi crackdown

AKP spokesman Hüseyin Çelik described the letter as an example of 'arrogance.' REUTERS Photo

Government officials gave a quick response to the letter recently published in The Times targeting the ruling party’s treatment of Gezi Park protesters, accusing the celebrities who penned the lines of “insincerity,” as well as of working with anti-government figures in the country.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Hüseyin Çelik described the letter, which was penned by a list of famous figures, including actors and authors, as an example of “arrogance,” saying it “was served to them [the writers] by those inside the country.”

Çelik also accused the celebrities of "ignoring" the situation in Syria and events in Egpyt, and of harboring anti-AKP feelings.

“The answers that need to be given will be given. This is extremely arrogant and out of place behavior. We strongly refute and condemn it,” Çelik said.

The letter both damages the publication’s respectability and the reputation of those who signed it, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief political advisor, Yalçın Akdoğan, who called the full-page ad “unacceptable” and “tactless.”

HDN A group of internationally renowned artists and scholars condemned the Turkish authorities’ heavy-handed crackdown on the Gezi Park protests in a full-page letter published July 24 in the British broadsheet The Times, addressed to Prime Minister Erdoğan. The signatories, including figures known for their activism such as Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Ben Kingsley and movie director David Lynch, described the Turkish government as “a dictatorial rule” and slammed Erdoğan’s uncompromising stance regarding the protesters’ demands.

“The fact that such an ad that was filled with political polemics and deliriums was published by The Times not only damages the respectability of that newspaper, but also damages the reputation of those who signed under such inappropriate descriptions of the Turkish government and prime minister,” Akdoğan said.

He said “disinformation” was at work over the Gezi interventions, adding that “those who want to see excessive use of police force should look at the interventions in Britain in recent times.”

“An attitude that likens the will of the 1.5 million who gathered at Kazlıçeşme to the Nuremberg trials is committing a hate crime, and is also disrespecting the national will,” Akdoğan added.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) also received its share of criticism, with the advisor accusing the letter-writers of joining a campaign that “repeats the CHP’s sayings.” “Will they join the CHP in local propaganda campaigns?” he said.

“Those who did not publish anything with regards to the coup in Egypt, or did not object to the ongoing cruelty against Muslims in Myanmar, do not have any sincerity or credibility,” Akdoğan added.