Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone Embassy of the United States of America 110 Atatürk Blvd. Kavaklıdere, 06100 Ankara Turkey
Dear Ambassador Ricciardone:
What are you?
Yesterday, you met with a man, a man convicted by the Turkish Constitutional Court of being the leader of the anti-secular movement in Turkey. Yesterday, you met with a man who three months ago received the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights, presented by that paragon of human rights virtue, Muammer Gadaffi himself. (Need more be said?) Yesterday, you met with this man, the prime minister of Turkey, the primary enemy of freedom of the press in this long-suffering nation. Yesterday, you and the Gadaffi Award Winner agreed by no less than “one hundred percent” that there could not be democracy where there is no freedom of press. So what, Mr. Ambassador? Are you joking? What have we in Turkey?
Sixty four journalists in jail. Two, Mustafa Balbay and Tuncay Ozkan, unconstitutionally incarcerated for over two years, two weeks ago placed in solitary confinement, a defacto violation of their human rights. And you apparently remain confused about press freedom in Turkey. What are you confused about, Mr. Ambassador? Didn’t you read what I sent you last month? Or did you prefer to listen to the Gaddafi Award Winner expound on human rights?
Turkey is boiling about the mistreatment of the press. Haven’t you heard? Or did the two of you simply discuss the abstractions of democracy? The finer points according to John Locke, Rousseau, and Jefferson? Or were the moderating views of James Madison stressed? Do you take the public for fools, Mr. Ambassador? Don’t you know that we know about the doings of the Gadaffi Award Winner and his ilk? Don’t you look out the window and hear the police roundups? Don’t you notice that the streets are filled with protesting journalists? The jails, too. Or are you the Gadaffi Award Winner’s puppet? Or is he yours? Or are both of you being jerked by some higher power puppet master?
Whatever the game you are playing, it is a disgusting one. And it is a dangerous one. And it is a stupid one. And it is an old one. And it is a shame-filled one, to you, to the United States of America, and to all freedom-loving Americans.