The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is acting more and more like an old-fashioned dictator who can not digest any critics. This time Erdogan is upset with Greek newspaper Dimokratia that published an article titled ‘Siktir Git Mr. Erdogan,’ which means ‘fuck off’ in Turkish.
By Arthur Blok
Erdogan ordered his government to be very upset and told his Foreign Minister to summon Greece’s ambassador over the headline in the newspaper. The headline ‘fuck off Mr. Erdogan’ appears next to a photo of Erdogan on the front-page of the paper.
“On behalf of the Turkish government, I condemn in the strongest terms the publication of insults directed at our President … on the front page of an extreme right newspaper,” Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency, wrote in a letter to Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas made public on Saturday.
He urged Greece to bring to account those responsible for the “shameless” action. “Insulting a foreign leader is nothing but a sign of helplessness and lack of reason, and does not fall within the scope of press freedom or freedom of expression,” he said.
The Greek Foreign Ministry had said on Friday freedoms of expression and the press were fully protected in the EU member country but added: “The use of offensive language is contrary to our country’s political culture and can only be condemned.”
Dispute in the Mediterranean
The two NATO countries are already locked in a heated dispute over energy exploration in contested waters in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey’s deployment last month of research vessel Oruc Reis prompted the neighbors to stage rival air and naval drills in strategic waters between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete.
Last weekend, Ankara pulled the vessel back to the shore for maintenance and replenishment after its one-month mission. Ankara extended the operations of another research vessel, Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, off Cyprus until after mid-October. Turkey’s drill ship Yavuz will also remain off Cyrus until Oct. 12.
Erdogan said on Friday he wanted to give diplomacy a chance and did not rule out a meeting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis via video-conference or in a third country.
French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country backs Greece in the dispute, welcomed the Turkish leader’s willingness for dialogue, saying southern European leaders had delivered a similar message to Turkey during a meeting in the Corsican city of Ajaccio last week.
EU leaders are due to discuss possible sanctions against Turkey at their meeting on Sept. 24-25.