Trump Thanks Erdogan for His Help in Release of Detained Pastor Andrew Brunson

Pastor Andrew Brunson is set to return to the United States soon after being detained in Turkey for two years. President Donald Trump, who tweeted earlier this week that he’s “working very hard” on the matter, celebrated his return on Twitter today, thanking President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and saying there was “NO DEAL” with Turkey:

Trump Goes After Turkey, Announces Doubling of Tariffs: Our Relations ‘Are Not Good!’

Early in his administration, President Donald Trump was criticized for placing a congratulatory call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — an authoritarian leader. But now, the relationship appears to have gone sideways. Amid a steep drop in Turkey’s currency, the Lira, the president announced on Twitter Friday that he has given the greenlight to sharply increased tariffs. “I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!” Trump wrote. “Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”

CPJ Presents the Press Oppressors Awards

A version of this post originally appeared on CPJ’s website. Amid the public discourse of fake news and President Trump’s announcement via Twitter about his planned “fake news” awards ceremony, CPJ is recognizing world leaders who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media. From an unparalleled fear of their critics and the truth, to a relentless commitment to censorship, these five leaders and the runner-ups in their categories have gone above and beyond to silence critical voices and weaken democracy.

Most Thin-skinned

Winner: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey
Turkish authorities have repeatedly charged journalists, news outlets, and social media users for insulting Erdoğan, insulting other Turkish leaders, and insulting “Turkishness” in general. Over the course of 2016, the Turkish judicial system handled 46,193 cases of “insulting the president” or “insulting the Turkish nation, the Republic
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Mueller Reportedly Investigating Michael Flynn Plot to Kidnap Cleric For $15 Million

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any nuttier. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged proposal involving ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn forcibly removing a muslim cleric from the United States and returning the cleric to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars.
Under the alleged proposal, Mr. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to people with knowledge of discussions Mr. Flynn had with Turkish representatives. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pressed the U.S. to extradite him, views the cleric as a political enemy.
Per the WSJ, the FBI has spoken to a number of individuals about a New York City meeting in December 2016 where Flynn and his representatives met with Turkish officials to discuss the removal of Continue reading "Mueller Reportedly Investigating Michael Flynn Plot to Kidnap Cleric For $15 Million"

U.S. Authorities to Charge Turkish Security Guards Over Brutal Attack on Protesters

2017-05-16-Twitter-Washington_DC_Protest U.S. authorities will reportedly prosecute twelve members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan‘s security detail over a May 2017 attack on protesters in Washington, D.C. The Turkish bodyguards assaulted the demonstrators shortly after President Erdoğan arrived at his ambassador’s residence in the U.S. capital. Journalists from Voice of America caught the world leader looking on as his security guards assaulted people in the crowd. The New York Times revealed in a Wednesday report that “law enforcement officials plan to announce charges Thursday,” and cited anonymous officials who knew about the upcoming legal move. Earlier in the day, Reuters spotlighted that two other individuals — Sinan Narin of Virginia and Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey — have also been charged in the May 2017 incident. The pair “face a variety of assault charges,” and the latter is “awaiting extradition from New Jersey.” The Times article also Continue reading "U.S. Authorities to Charge Turkish Security Guards Over Brutal Attack on Protesters"

Turkey Issues Arrest Warrant For NBA Player Enes Kanter

2017-05-22-CBS-CTM-Enes_Kanter The government of Turkey is seeking the arrest of Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter for his supposed involvement in a “terror group.” Agence France-Presse (AFP) detailed the legal action against Kanter in a Friday report. A judge in Istanbul signed the warrant on Friday after a “prosecutor opened an investigation into Kanter’s alleged ‘membership of an armed terrorist organisation.'” AFP noted that the professional basketball player “previously backed Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen in Twitter postings after an attempted putsch last July aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” On May 20, Kanter posted a video to Twitter that revealed he had been detained in Romania after the Turkish government revoked his passport. The NBA star was ultimately allowed to return to the United States, and doubled-down on his
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Bipartisan Group in Congress Blasts Turkish Thugs’ Attack on Protesters, Introduce Resolution

2017-05-16-Twitter-Washington_DC_Protest Four leading members of the House of Representatives introduced a congressional resolution on Wednesday that condemns Turkish security guards’ attack on peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C. on May 16, 2017. Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the H. Res. 354, along with the ranking member of the committee, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer joined their two colleagues in sponsoring the resolution. The four congressmen released a joint statement on Wednesday after introducing the proposal, which underlined that “those responsible must face justice.”
…The attack last week against the protesters fell into a pattern of similar behavior by the Erdogan government and sent a dangerous message that this ideology of suppression has a place among the NATO powers, an alliance built to protect democracy and basic rights against those who would impose Continue reading "Bipartisan Group in Congress Blasts Turkish Thugs’ Attack on Protesters, Introduce Resolution"