Turkish President Erdogan Is Arresting Doctors On Terrorism Charges For Exposing The Country's Actual COVID Stats

from the terrorizing-people-with-all-these-facts dept

Anyone who says anything critical of the Turkish government is a terrorist. That's been the operative theory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has jailed more journalists than China and somehow managed to make a handful of governments around the world complicit in the punishment of his critics.

The hits just keep on coming. The latest roundup of "terrorists" in Turkey is COVID-related, linked to the government's attempt to bury its bad infection numbers.

Sebnem Korur Fincanci, a forensic physician, and many other doctors had long insisted there was something dodgy about Turkey’s covid-19 figures. Excess deaths across the country far surpassed officially reported deaths from the virus. Case numbers seemed suspiciously low. Vindication came at the end of November, when the government revealed it had stopped reporting asymptomatic infections months earlier. Once it resumed doing so, the case-count rocketed from about 7,000 to over 30,000 a day. (The numbers later dropped, after new lockdowns were imposed.) For her troubles Dr Fincanci, who turned 61 last year, was labelled a terrorist by none other than Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The head of the Nationalist Movement Party, the president’s coalition partner, called for the group she heads, the Turkish Medical Association, to be disbanded.

That's how the bearers of inconvenient facts are being handled in Turkey. And the government has a brand new weapon to deploy against anyone saying anything it doesn't like. A law passed late last year gives the government direct control of civil rights organizations in the country, including local branches of worldwide groups like Amnesty International. The law allows the government to remove members facing bogus terrorism charges and seize their assets. It also allows the government to handpick replacements for organization members it has jailed. If that isn't enough to silence these rights-protecting loudmouths, the government can ban the groups altogether.

All this is happening while Turkey continues to suffer from numerous violent attacks by actual terrorists. But the government has chosen to focus on multitudinous "terrorists" who do nothing more damaging than raise justifiable concerns or undercut the official narrative.

These latest arrests just add to the breathtaking number of people arrested and/or jailed by the Turkish government following a failed coup in 2016. Only a small percentage of those were participants or have engaged in actual terrorists acts. A majority of those arrested are opposition party leaders, teachers, journalists, members of civil rights groups, and dissidents. This may be making things simpler and easier for Erdogan and his acolytes. But it isn't making his country any safer. With Erdogan in charge, the population's threat matrix now includes a vengeful, thin-skinned leader.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: covid, free speech, recep tayyip erdogan, reporting, terrorism, turkey


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. icon
    Bloof (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 3:55am

    Thanks to his handling of covid, the internet, whistleblowers, journalists and the truth, the Florida GOP have already tapped him for a gubernatorial run once Ron DeSantis leaves office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    David, 20 Jan 2021 @ 4:19am

    How many Covid-19 deaths do you see, Winston?

    And if the party says "three"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Norahc (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 5:11am

    Must...resist...urge to comment about Gollum and bats.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2021 @ 6:14am

    Re:

    Resistance is futile.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    crade (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 6:30am

    Trump isn't even cold yet and you've already moved on to other authoritarian regimes

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2021 @ 6:42am

    Re:

    It sounds like something trump would be doing soon had he won the election.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2021 @ 7:17am

    and he's supposed to be good for the country? good for the people? please explain how lying to everyone is good for anyone except the one doing the lying? please explain how tying the country to a Hitler wannabe is good for anyone/anything? why is it that people fall for and go along with this crap? are they simply bullies, until found out then buckle, just like so many Nazis did? ruling by fear isn't ruling at all!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 7:41am

    ruling by fear isn't ruling at all!

    Tell that to Trump supporters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    davetechdirt02 (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 8:25am

    Erratum

    Erdoğan and not Erdogan

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 8:43am

    The same as Desantis in Florida.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2021 @ 10:16am

    Re: Erratum

    That letter can be typed as COMPOSE C G—or just search Wikipedia and paste it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    TripMN, 20 Jan 2021 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    I was going to make a Florida/DeSantis comment, but not sure how I can beat this one.

    The whole Rebekah Jones saga does point to DeSantis having taken some tips from Erdogan and his ilk.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    David, 20 Jan 2021 @ 11:19am

    Re: Erratum

    Erdoğan and not Erdogan

    Not just linguistically the version with horns seems entirely more appropriate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Rekrul, 20 Jan 2021 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Erratum

    I thought it was Turdogan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Erratum

    Erdogollum

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2021 @ 3:12pm

    How is mentally ill Erdogan not taken out of office?

    he expects people to worship him as an actual living deity, 2nd only to Allah and has people arrested that don't.

    He's batshit insane.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Rocky, 20 Jan 2021 @ 4:37pm

    Re:

    He's batshit insane.

    The difference between batshit insane and *megalomaniac' is that a megalomaniacs action may look insane until you look closer and see that it was just another way to cement their power over the people. And one of the surest ways to do that is to consistently remove the intelligentsia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Bob, 1 Feb 2021 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re:

    Something your buddy Cuomo is already been caught doing. Biden/Chinese regime wont do anything to punish or even call him out for it.

    Stop letting CNN tell you how to think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.