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August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
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How the Left Reports on Turkey

I can spot a lefty report about Jews and Israel a mile away, but will I be able to catch those same tricks in a story about another country?

What does this picture remind me of? Of course – the Kalandia checkpost rioters!

What does this picture remind me of? Of course – the Kalandia checkpost rioters!

Glen Johnson, reporting for the Los Angeles Times, has filed his story late Sunday night: “Thousands in Turkey continue protest over plan to bulldoze park.” Having been keeping up with the situation in Turkey, I took the opportunity to examine how the left wing media report on events that are not in my immediate vicinity. I know that when they report on, say clashes between the murderous IDF and peaceful Palestinian protesters, or on vile Jewish settlers burning down acres of olive groves that have been in this Palestinian farmer’s family since Saladin’s time, they’ll skew the story as best they can, using both code and innuendo, misrepresentations of the law and a warped version of history. But will I be able to catch those same tricks in a story about another country?

It was a challenge, and I must admit I had to labor for almost an entire minute to discover the usual suspects. I won’t bother you with the entire list of examples, because you’ll tire and walk away, so let’s do just a few:

First paragraph:

A weekend of protest in Turkey has left the country reeling, with thousands of DISSIDENTS taking to the streets after a brutal police crackdown, presenting the government with the MOST COHESIVE CHALLENGE in its more than a decade in power.

Dissidents? How are these free Yuppies living in Istanbul dissidents? Are they being thrown in jail? Are they dying in the gulags? How did they become dissidents?

Well, with a few key strokes, is how it happened. The same as in the case of the most cohesive challenge to the government. A government that has enjoyed a growing majority of the vote for 11 years is challenged by some guys burning stuff? Was the U.S. government challenged by the Rodney King riots in L.A.? Is Israel challenged by a bunch of Arabs throwing rocks at passing cars?

A cohesive challenge is when a competing political party manages to attract a sizable portion of the voters, to the point where government has to take notice. A few thousand guys brawling with the cops is the most cohesive challenge in a decade? Then I’m afraid the Erdogan regime is here to stay for as long as they feel like.

Next paragraph:

“The government is passing laws that go against our freedom, that take away our rights,” said 31-year-old Derya Bozkurt as she stood in the heart of Taksim Square in central Istanbul on Sunday evening. She was drinking a beer and smoking a cigar — powerful statements in present-day Turkey, WHERE ISLAMISTS FROWN ON ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION and CIGAR SMOKING IS HARDLY THE SOCIAL NORM FOR A WOMAN.

So, Islamists in Turkey are frowning on alcohol consumption – as opposed to what other Islamists? Alcohol is banned by Islam – much like marijuana is religiously banned by the U.S. government. In fact, while hundreds of thousands of Americans spend time in jail for smoking and selling weed, not one person in all of Turkey has even been charged with drinking alcohol – because it’s legal. The government—like most municipalities in the U.S.—is trying to set limits on where bars can operate—away from schools and religious institutions—and at what age one may start drinking—in Turkey it’s 18, in the U.S. 21—and when the bars should close at night—unless they serve the tourism industry.

What a brave lass this 31-year-old Derya Bozkurt must be, for drinking beer in a country where no one can touch her for doing it. In New York City she could be arrested for drinking in public, unless she kept the can in a brown paper bag.

And the idea that a guy from L.A., the place where cigarette smokers are the lepers of society, is complaining that Turkish women are discouraged from smoking cigars? In L.A. someone would call the cops on her for smoking, if she’s not careful.


Plans to redevelop the park were PUSHED THROUGH last year by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, DESPITE CONSIDERABLE OPPOSITION.

The AKP, a center-right nationalist party with Islamist leanings, DOMINATES THE PARLIAMENT and retains significant support in the country, appealing to a conservative Muslim base.

You’ll admit, that if you didn’t know the AKP enjoyed a huge, democratically elected, majority in parliament, you’d think that the development plans were imposed on the suffering Turks by a tyrannical, bullying system, deaf to their pleas. They did it despite considerable opposition of roughly 3 percent of the people, after all, how anti-democratic can you get?

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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13 Responses to “How the Left Reports on Turkey”

  1. Joel Stephen Gehrke says:


  2. Lisa Michelle says:

    I'm truly left speechless by your analogies here, comparing apples to oranges. This is a la-la-land tale!

  3. Lisa Michelle says:

    Good advice, Joel! Perhaps you might consider taking it.

  4. Lisa Michelle says:

    Good advice, Joel! Perhaps you might consider taking it.

  5. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Interesting! You post in other articles that Turkey is allegedly a secular state, yet go out of your way here to admit it is in fact Islamist!

    It is not fluent left-wing you speak but fluent obfuscate. To call the islamist regime of Erdogan "democratically elected" is the same as the very left you castigate wantonly overlooking the 138% "plurality" Obama took in Cleveland, the alleged 100% no dissent vote for him in Philadelphia, and 10*% in portions of Florida! Fluent "Left wing" keeps you from posting that there are more journalists imprisoned in Turkey then anywhere else in the world COMBINED!

    "Fluent left wing" also seems to keep you from posting about the numerous times the so-called "centrist secular" party led by Erdogan and his imam have castigated Syria and Hamas for not taking the lead and initiating armed struggle against the Jewish State. The numerous times since his seizing office thru fraud that he has threatened Israel with "the full might" of the Turkish Army! The numerous times he has demanded Israel not be allowed to join or observe NATO and be attacked at the EU and UN sessions.

    You speak "left wing fluently" for no reason other then your willingness (like the left wing) to shuck and jive around the truth. I'm not sure what your real relationship is with the ottoman propagandist (that is between the two of you). But at least be truthful and admit that your fluency comes from your being much like the left wing: dishonest; willing to work around the truth; and woefully disingenuous.

    I realize you skirted the Schocken Haaretz comments before.I'm beginning to realize you did so because they hit to close to your own growing push.

  6. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    People should never "grow up" from dissent!

  7. Kabak Kafa says:

    Yori! are we living in the same space time and dimension?
    I fail to see any point in this article. that being said. You are absolutely clueless about Turkeys past, present and current dynamics. Seriously the article is almost saddening… that is my opinion as a Turkish citizen.

  8. Joel Stephen Gehrke says:

    Dissent about what? What is the grievance, Arie?

  9. Joel Stephen Gehrke says:

    I have every respect in the world for the absolute right of political dissent. Honest to God. But dissent does not include the right to riot, and in a parliamentary system, where the public can call an election at any time, it becomes every thinking person to take these protests with a grain of salt. It's not like Erdogan is targeting political opponents for tax audits or anything.

  10. Avi Ibrahim Balser says:

    Arie, sorry but you have a known hateful agenda.
    This piece is a very good and honest piece.

  11. Lisa Michelle says:

    Both you, Joel, and Avi Ibrahim You've totally missed the point.

  12. Philippe Assouline says:

    There is much more to democracy than show elections every 4-5 years. And elections are nothing but PR for tyrants when the opposition and press have been caged and neutered, as it has in Turkey. The fact that almost no Turkish stations were reporting on massive, gigantic protests in the center of Istanbul and dozens of cities this weekend proves that elections would be a sham.

  13. David Mizrahi Celekli Macias says:

    false. It would be a huge mistake to call this movement a "leftist" movement. Let's take a closer look at the demographics: middle to upper-middle class people who have adapted a "secular" lifestyle. These people are from the more "elite" neighborhoods in Istanbul such as Caddebostan, Moda, Suadiye, Kiziltoprak, Erenkoy, Besiktas, Nisantasi, Etiler, Ulus, etc…
    Also, more than 90% of the Turkish-Jews support this movement. Some even were victims of the Turkish police brutality (I know because I am part of that community and it is really small; you know what everyone is doing). Whenever there is a violent person in the protest, he is removed from the group immediately. The only instances where there is violence is when police uses brutal force or tear-gas for no reason. Additionally, the reason they are protesting is because they feel that they are forced to change their everyday lives even if it is a bit and they want no intervention from the government in the form of laws or insulting remarks. Erdogan has openly targeted people who have not voted for him, or who do not have the same ideology of him and has insulted them using remarks such as "drunks", "individuals lacking of morals", "enemies of Islam" and such. This has created a negative perception among Erdogan's supporters against all those who did not vote for him. It is also possible to see double standards and lack of justice (I.E. someone not getting a punishment for raping an underaged girl just because he shares the same ideology v.s. someone getting 20 years of prison for protesting the prime minister. Just yesterday, they arrested 30 people for posting content related to the protests in order to intimidate them. Turkey has more journalists in prison than Iran and China combined. People are protesting because they do not want double standards. They want the same justice to be applicable to everyone. They do not want to fear of their future every time they criticize Erdogan or the government. Moreover, they are protesting the fact that they AKP government is mentally and ideologically separating people into extreme poles and the mentality of "you are either with us or you disappear" is trying to be imposed to the general public. The reason that Jews in Turkey are preferably migrating to the US, Europe, or making aliyah in the worst of the cases. Even my Jewish circles say that the situation and the pressure they feel is similar to the Nazi era which is taught to us in Jewish school and saturday services. (They also came to power with elections).

    I advice you to make some research and also look for "The Gulen Movement" which is behind the government before writing articles.

    David MIZRAHI Celekli.

Comments are closed.

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