Saturday, April 16, 2016

Erdogan the thin-skinned

German chancellor Angela Merkel is allowing the prosecution of a comedian for insulting Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan asked that the comedian be prosecuted under a hitherto-obscure German law originally crafted when Germany was still a monarchy and insults to royal leaders could get one executed.

All the noise in this case has been about Merkel's sacrifice of free-speech principles in favor of mollifying Turkey's strongman, who derives leverage from his reluctant cooperation with Europe to deal with the refugee crisis.

Aren't we kind of missing the point, though? Germany and the rest of Europe need Turkey's cooperation so Erdogan, like it or not, finds himself in a good position to exact concessions like this one. The real point is that Erdogan has showed himself, unsurprisingly, to be a thin-skinned goon.

People who aren't two-bit bullies aren't afraid of a little laughter, Mr. President of Turkey. But I guess you wouldn't know anything about not being a two-bit bully.

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