It should be a prerequisite for a political leader to be able to handle criticism and if you can’t do that, maybe you’d best go look for another job.
But given the number of so-called leaders who’ve proved incapable of any such thing then one has to wonder how they got into such a position in the first place or question how a particular society can allow that to happen.
Sorry about the initial rant but I’m perplexed to why Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is overacting to a satirical poem posted by the very beautiful 26-year-old Merve Buyuksarac on her Instagram account.
But if you know anything about Erdoğan’s form then maybe you’re not so surprised.
Buyuksarac, a former Miss Turkey (2006), was arrested in January by police and held briefly for the post in question which she made last summer and the arrest got news coverage around the world.
Now prosecutors want Buyuksarac to face charges for insulting a public official, that being Erdoğan. AP says that this may mean two years in jail for the former model over the perceived insult but first a court needs to decide if the case will proceed to trial.
“I don’t precisely recall the content I have shared on my Instagram account,” she said, according to a report from Cihan news agency. “However, I might have taken excerpts from Twitter, other social media websites or the cartoon magazine Uykusuz.”
“I shared it because it was funny to me,” she said. “I did not intend to insult Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”
According to news reports she quickly deleted it from her Instagram account after she was told by friends that posting it could land her in trouble.
What Buyuksarac posted was The Master’s Poem which was published in Turkish magazine Uykusuz, a publication which loves taking swipes at Turkey’s political elite, especially the president himself as you can see below.
As for Erdoğan, last year he unsuccessfully tried to ban twitter in Turkey as part of his ongoing crackdown on social media and journalists.
The Washington Post says that 67 people have been charged with insulting the president since he was elected. Last week there was a fist fight in the parliament over a national bill that will give him more power to crush dissent.
So what does this all add up to?
“Erdogan is aware that he is not going to be able to achieve his goals through purely democratic means,” said Gareth Jenkins, an Istanbul-based analyst with the Institute for Security and Development Policy according to AP.
“If you are trying to stop people from expressing their opinions, it is a sign that you are not accountable,” Jenkins said.