The reaction against the Gaggenau affair is, and will be, used for the same purpose: whitewashing Turkey’s own suffocating limitations on free speech. During this referendum campaign, for example, Turkish opposition leaders — especially opponents within the Nationalist Action Party, whose leader became Erdogan’s best ally — have been unabashedly silenced by local authorities who are all tied to Ankara. That Turkey imprisons critical journalists — with trumped-up charges of “being a member of terrorist group” — is now a globally infamous fact. Such facts are why Freedom House, which once also documented the expansion of freedom in Turkey in the earliest years of the AKP, has lately put Turkey in the category of “not free” nations with regard to its press freedom. These are bitter facts about Turkey that no “whataboutism” can really hide.

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