President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused the New York Times of meddling in Turkey’s affairs with a critical editorial, angrily telling the US daily to “know your place.”
In a growing controversy over media rights in Turkey ahead of June 7 legislative polls, Erdogan blasted an “impolite” editorial in the New York Times last week which he said “literally gave orders to the United States.”
“As a newspaper, you (the New York Times) should know your place,” he said in a televised speech in Istanbul.
“You are meddling in Turkey’s affairs by writing something like this. By publishing this editorial, you are overstepping the limits of freedom,” he said.
The New York Times had on Friday published a editorial entitled “Dark Clouds Over Turkey” that was deeply critical of Erdogan’s rule, and accusing him of a crackdown ahead of the polls.
“The United States and Turkey’s other NATO allies should be urging (Erdogan) to turn away from this destructive path,” the New York Times editorial said.
Erdogan spat back “Who are you? Could you say something like this to the US administration?”
The editorial referred to attacks by Erdogan on the Dogan Media Group, which owns the Hurriyet daily, over its coverage of the death sentence handed to former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.
In a bizarre dispute, Erdogan and the government accused Hurriyet of implying he could face the death penalty with its headline “death sentence with 52 percent.”
Erdogan was elected president with 52 percent of the vote in August 2014 elections after more than a decade as prime minister. Morsi had won elections in 2012 with a similar score.
– ‘Trying to stigmatise us’ –
In a rare statement, the honorary president of Dogan Media Group, Aydin Dogan, 79, said Monday that some politicians “try to stigmatise us as an adversary without even giving the slightest justification.”
“We can only continue our existence in a free environment under the guarantee of the law,” he said, vowing to keep an “equal stance” from all parties.
“We are neither defying the president and the (ruling) Justice and Development Party (AKP) nor opposing. We are only journalists,” said Dogan, founder of the Dogan Holding conglomerate.
Concerns have mounted in recent months over media rights in Turkey, with legal proceedings opened against several journalists on accusations of insulting Erdogan.
Political tensions are riding high in Turkey ahead of the June 7 elections, with the AKP battling to keep the dominance it has maintained over the country since it first came to power in 2002.
Erdogan is playing an increasingly active role in the campaign to bolster the AKP, even though as president he should in theory be apolitical.
An opinion poll by the SONAR organisation quoted by Turkish media on Monday said that the AKP was on course to win 41 percent of the vote, but may need to form a coalition for the first time during its almost 13-year domination of the country.
Erdogan wants the AKP to win a two-thirds parliamentary majority, which would allow it to change the constitution and create the presidential system that he yearns for.
Attacking the Dogan Media Group again in his speech, Erdogan said: “The new constitution and the presidential system will block the way of these coup makers forever.”
Trump fears his base will turn on him if he flips and calls for nationwide mask guidelines: CNN
On CNN Saturday, analyst Ron Brownstein outlined the key reason President Donald Trump is struggling to adapt his message to proper public health guidance on the coronavirus pandemic.
"Ron, there is a retail trade group that has asked President Trump to institute federal, nationwide mask guidelines at stores across the country as the country continues to re-open," said anchor Alex Marquardt. "Experts are saying that masks could save thousands of lives in the coming months. Do you see a scenario in which — any chance in which he would issue that?"
"I think the short answer is no, and for a revealing reason," said Brownstein. "He is in a trap of his own construction. On coronavirus, we talk all the time about how President Trump's base is bonded to him, immovably. He's also bonded to the base in the other direction, that he is very reluctant to get out crosswise with a base that includes the kind of people that showed up at the Michigan capital to protest lockdown without wearing masks and waving Confederate flags and carrying automatic weapons."
Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead
There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.
This article first appeared in Salon.
What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.
As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode
This article first appeared in Salon.
There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)