Britain’s political leaders are not so much better than Turkey’s authoritarian leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, wrote journalist Yas Necati in an opinion column published in the Independent newspaper on Monday, as the Turkish president was in the UK on a trip where he wıll meet with both Prime Minister Teresa May and the Queen.
Erdoğan’s presence in the UK, wrote Necati, raises the issue of “how to deal with particularly nasty world leaders – and it’s been thrown up frequently this year in the UK as the public has campaigned against a state visit from US president Donald Trump.”
However, banning Erdoğan is a not a viable option as it implies a holier than thou status that UK’s politicians cannot live up to. Recent examples of UK’s standards include, “racism in how the Windrush generation has been treated… sexism in the tax credits’ “rape clause”… human rights failures in the UK’s role in the arrest of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar… we see greed and profit put before human lives with continued sales of weapons that are used to kill innocent civilians.”
Given this, Necati suggests that UK citizens cannot expect their political leaders to criticise Turkey’s president on issues such as human rights and democracy during his visit. The author concludes however, that whilst, “many people in Turkey can’t protest right now for fear of their lives… in the UK we can kick up a fuss against the Turkish leader’s visit – we shouldn’t rely on the government for such things.”