The Jerusalem Post article contains factual mistakes about Turkey

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The Jerusalem Post article contains factual mistakes about Turkey

2018-04-04 09:04 BST
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Factual mistakes include the claims that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can stay in power indefinitely and that the YPG is one of the few pro-democratic forces in the Middle East

On 2 April 2018, The Jerusalem Post has published an article titled “Erdogan’s Hypocrisy,” written by the Editorial Board of the newspaper.

The article alleges that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s criticisms over the violent dispersal of the Palestinian protesters by the Israeli forces on 31 March 2018 –which claimed the lives of 18 people and left more than 200 injured- constitutes “double standards” and “hypocrisy.”

However, the article includes a number of factual mistakes about Turkey.

"Latest constitutional referendum enables Erdogan to remain in office indefinitely"

The article states that the constitutional referendum of 16 April 2017 “replaced Turkey’s parliamentary government with a presidential one that allows Erdogan to remain in office indefinitely.”

The issue is the opposite. In the current parliamentary system of Turkey and that of Israel, there is not a limitation for the prime minister who is the head of the executive branch to stay in power as long as he is able to form a government with the Parliament’s vote of confidence.

A presidential term is five years. The latest constitutional referendum set a two-term limit for the same person to be elected as the president of the republic under Article 101 of the constitution.

The referendum brings further checks and balances mechanisms for the president such as the abolishment of the president’s power of the dissolution of the parliament and reducing the number of the constitutional court judges appointed by the president.

For a more detailed analysis of the new presidential system, click here.

"YPG one of the few ‘pro-democratic’ forces in Middle East"

The article refers the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) is “one of the few pro-democratic forces in the Middle East.”

The YPG has a long track of human rights violations varying from recruiting child soldiers to the forced disappearances of its opponents and forced displacement of civilians from their homes.

An Amnesty International Report (2015) in reference to the YPG statesby deliberately demolishing civilian homes, in some cases razing and burning entire villages, displacing their inhabitants with no justifiable military grounds, the Autonomous Administration is abusing its authority and brazenly flouting international humanitarian law, in attacks that amount to war crimes.”

A Human Rights Watch Report (HRW) in 2015 emphasizes that YPG regularly recruits child soldiers despite its promises to “follow up” such cases.

Another HRW Report lists arbitrary arrests, unsolved disappearances of its opponents (at least nine of them being prominent figures in the region) and again, recruiting child soldiers which are all carried out by the YPG.

Click here to have a deeper insight about the YPG’s record of human rights and democracy.

"Turkey receives military support from US"

The article states “Turkey under Erdogan – as a NATO ally – receives military support from the United States” and that Turkey still attacks the US’ “most important” ally in the anti-DAESH campaign, referring to the YPG.

Turkey receives a symbolic amount of military aid from the US. In the fiscal year of 2017, the US allocated to Turkey in total $3,800,000 under different military aid programs.

In order to evaluate the symbolic nature of this number, one can compare it with the US military aid amount to Israel. Israel received $3,775,735,000 from the US in the same fiscal year. It means that the amount of the military aid Israel received from the US is more than 993 times higher than that of Turkey, although Israel is not part of NATO and therefore does not bear any security obligations towards the US or the other member states within the scope of NATO.

The population of Turkey is 81,630,565, meaning that the US military aid to Turkey per capita amounts to around 4.5 cents per year. The population of Israel is 8,420,756, making the US military aid to Israel per capita $448.3 which is 9,955 times higher than that of Turkey.

Turkey has the second largest army inside NATO. To become a member of NATO, Turkey sent a brigadier force comprised of 5,000 men to fight in the Korean War. 717 of them lost their lives in Korea.

As part of the NATO missions, Turkey dispatched troops to Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and the coastline of Somalia. It has opened its military bases for the NATO countries including the US for the anti-DAESH campaign. Turkey is regarded as a vital part of NATO.