Journalist Naomi Klein Slams Turkish Hypocrisy At Istanbul Conferenc


Jan 26th, 2010

ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)-Activist and journalist Naomi Klein, a staunch
critic of Israel’s policies in Gaza, turned her guns on Turkish Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday for ignoring human rights
violations both domestically and internationally.

Klein was speaking at a conference at Istanbul’s Bogazici University,
held in memory of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. In her
remarks, she criticized the Turkish government for ignoring the rights
of its own Kurdish and Armenian population while voicing solidarity
with the plight of Palestinians. She said it is easy to stand up for
Palestinian rights in Turkey because it is "popular, populist."

"How can we simply cheer that solidarity when it comes out of a
system that persecutes Kurdish citizens or denies the existence of the
Armenian Genocide?" she said. "How can we simply cheer when it comes
from a government that claims with regards to Sudan, and this is a
quote, ‘that it is not possible for those who belong to the Muslim
faith to carry out genocide?’"

"How can we cheerfully defend freedom of speech for Turkish TV to
show the brutality of Israeli soldiers…when Hrant Dink lies dead
because of state prosecution and persecution of his freedom of speech
here in Turkey. How can we simply cheer?" she said.

"Hypocrisy is collectively corroding us, making us suspicious of
gestures we would so love to simply celebrate," she said.

"Demonstrating a commitment to universal standards makes the argument
for Palestinian rights stronger not weaker. Not only is it simply
just, but it takes away Israel’s most potent political tool, which
is the claim that its critics are hypocrites," she said.

"This principal needs to be understood everywhere in the world
including here in Turkey. Because as difficult as it may be for me
to voice solidarity with Palestinians in the strange North American
context, voicing solidarity with Palestinians is as easy here as it
is difficult in North America. It is popular, it is populist, it’s a
way to get votes, it isn’t a risk," said the Jewish Canadian, who has
written books critical of the Western economic and political system.

It was "enormously" important for Erdogan to speak out in Davos
against Israel and its Gaza war crimes last year "to pierce that
little bubble," said Klein, in reference to when Erdogan walked out of
a discussion panel in the Swiss town after voicing serious criticism
in the face of Israeli President Shimon Peres.

"Consistency is not an intellectual exercise it’s not about making
ourselves feel good," Klein said. "It is about building a movement
that is actually credible enough to win some victories for some people
who desperately need them."

"For that we need not look further than Hrant Dink’s legacy of
commitment to human rights," Klein said.

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